inventory and backlog Canada

Backlog increases as IRCC tries to reach service targets

Canada’s immigration inventory decreased from 1,973,800 applications as of December 31, 2022, to 1,944,500 as of January 31, 2023. However, according to the new IRCC data released in February 2023, there was an increase in the immigration backlog. Moreover, there was a decrease in applications within service standards.

Now, 969,900 applications are within service standards. This is down from 1,055,500 in December 2022. In addition, Canada’s immigration backlog increased by 6% from 918,300 applications to 974,600.

The inventory contains all the applications that IRCC has received for a program and that have not yet been finalized. Moreover, it includes those applications that are processed within the service standards, as well as a backlog of applications that have been in the inventories longer than the service standards.

service standard is the internal benchmark IRCC sets to process applications for each line of business.

IRCC applications at a glance

The updated data break the applications down into temporary residencepermanent residence, and citizenship applications. Of these, IRCC is reporting:

  • 969,900 applications within service standards and
  • 974,600 applications in backlog (exceeding service standard)
Line of businessInventoryWithin Service StandardsBacklog
Temporary residence1,024,000481,000543,000
Permanent residence617,500268,900348,600
also, Citizenship303,000220,00083,000

As of January 31, 2022, a total of 47% of temporary residence applications, 44% of permanent resident and 73% of citizenship applications were within service standards. On the other hand, there were a total of 53% of temporary residence applications, 56% of permanent resident and 27% of citizenship applications in backlog.

Line of businessInventory
(October 31)
(November 30)
(December 31)
(January 31)
Temporary residence1,304,0001,184,0001,052,0001,024,000
Permanent residence603,700609,400620,800617,500
also, Citizenship332,000318,000301,000303,000

It is also important to note that in 2022, IRCC finalized more than 5.2 million decisions across the lines of business.

<<You can also check the latest IRCC processing times: February 2023>>

When will delays decrease?

According to IRCC’s report, federal high-skilled applications for PR have a backlog of 20% as of January 2023. This meets their target of completing 80% of applications within service standards and they do not project it to go lower by March 2023.

Additionally, applications through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), had a backlog of 38% in January 2023. IRCC´s current projections for March are also for a backlog of 38%. Moreover, family, spouse and children applications (except for Quebec) for PR had a backlog of 24% in January 2023. This meets IRCC´s current backlog projection for March as well. Citizenship applications are expected to have a 24% backlog during March 2023, down from 27% in January 2023.

Also, by March 2023:

Please note that IRCC’s projections are estimates based on current operating conditions and may change. “They don’t account for sharp increases in received applications, urgent shifts in priorities, or other unforeseen circumstances affecting our operations,” said IRCC.

<<Canada’s immigration department increased its staff, but processing remains slow>>

IRCC’s plan to reduce backlogs

IRCC is working toward its goal of processing 80% of applications within its service standards. As part of its plan to reduce backlogs, IRCC is:

  • hiring more employees to speed up processing across all business lines;
  • reviewing and improving its processes so it can eliminate steps and use technologies to support its employees and speed up processing;
  • increasing permanent resident targets year after year to accommodate as many new immigrants as possible and further reduce the backlog;
  • expanding online applications for citizenship to minors under the age of 18. Also, IRCC is expanding access to its citizenship application status tracker to representatives.

You can read more about the steps that IRCC is taking to reduce backlogs in the following article: New improvements to the immigration system. You can also read about IRCC’s transition towards 100% digital applications.

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