canada immigration backlog

Canada’s immigration backlog reduces to less than 1 million applications

Canada’s immigration inventory reduced from 2.1 million as of November 30, 2022, to 1,973,800 applications as of December 31, 2022. According to new IRCC data, released on January 2023, 1,055,500 applications are within service standards. Moreover, Canada’s immigration backlog was reduced from 1.09 million to 918,300 applications.

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 residence, permanent residence, and citizenship applications. Of these, IRCC is reporting:

  • 1,055,500 applications within service standards and
  • 918,300 applications in backlog (exceeding service standard)
Line of businessInventoryWithin Service StandardsBacklog
Temporary residence1,052,000580,000472,000
Permanent residence620,800259,500361,300
also, Citizenship301,000216,00085,000

As of December 31, 2022, a total of 55% of temporary residence applications, 42% of permanent resident and 72% of citizenship applications were within service standards. On the other hand, there were a total of 45% of temporary residence applications, 58% permanent resident and 28% of citizenship applications in backlog.

Line of businessInventory
(September 30)
(October 30)
(November 30)
(December 30)
Temporary residence1,644,1001,304,0001,184,0001,052,000
Permanent residence614,600603,700609,400620,800
also, Citizenship352,000332,000318,000301,000

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: January 2023>>

When will delays decrease?

According to IRCC’s forecast, federal high-skilled applications for PR will have a projected backlog of 20%. However, applications through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), will have a projected 38% backlog by March 2023. Moreover, family, spouse and children applications (except for Quebec) for PR will have a backlog of 24% by March of this year. Citizenship applications are expected to have a 24% backlog during the same month.

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 to process 80% of applications within their 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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    Andrea Neira