Canada is planning to offer citizenship to 300,000 immigrants in the year 2022-2023. A recent memo by IRCC outlines targets for the number of new citizens the country is planning to welcome in the fiscal year 2022-2023. The memo was drafted by the Operations, Planning, and Performance department of IRCC which recommends that it process a total of 285,000 decisions and 300,000 new citizens by March 31, 2023. Upon reviewing an application, a decision is made that either approves, denies, or marks the application as incomplete. A citizenship target means that 300,000 approved applicants must take the oath of citizenship.
With 253,000 citizenship applications processed in 2019-2020, this is a significant increase over the 2021-2022 fiscal year. And, in 2021-2022, IRCC welcomed 217,000 new citizens. By far now in 2022-2023 Canada has invited 116,000 new citizens and is on the right path to meeting the target. By evaluation, over the same period in 2021, IRCC had only sworn in 35,000 people.
Moreover, the memo addresses the current challenges involved in processing applications and ensuring that all positive decisions can take the oath of citizenship within a reasonable amount of time.
Applications will no longer be accepted on paper by IRCC
Due to the onset of Pandemic in the March 2020, IRCC became unable to process most applications. The department was only able to process paper applications which were mailed to a central location. As all in-person events were also canceled, this meant that IRCC was unable to organize interviews with applicants and there could not be any oath-swearing citizenship ceremonies.
These restrictions led to a transition towards making the citizenship application process completely digital, for a few candidates, beginning in November 2020. This is in effect for all those who wish to apply and are over 18 years of age. However, while this will streamline the entire process for new candidates, a massive backlog of paper applications will remain.
According to the memo, IRCC should maintain its current first-in, first-out application system for all applications, concentrating on older, paper applications while prioritizing a small number of digital ones to prevent a backlog from growing.
In 2021, IRCC aimed for 5000 digital applications for the year out of a target of 245,000 decisions. As more of the applications are digital, the report suggests that for the 2022-2023 fiscal year, there will need to be a rise in the number of digital applications processed.
The processing time exceeds 20 months
Processing times in a consequent report released in May stuck at 27 months. The memo suggests this is to be anticipated due to the increase in the number of online applications in addition to the backlog of paper applications. Last June, there were 413,000 applications in the grant inventory.
The IRCC announces that it has cleared the backlog and that 80% of all new applications are being processed within service standards. It is planned to expand access to the citizenship application status tracker to representatives to accomplish this goal. Over 1,000 new staff have been hired. Also, minors aged under 18 years will be eligible for citizenship online by the end of the year.