Online Immigration Services Canada

New Improvements to the Immigration System: September 2022

This month, the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration visited an IRCC application processing centre in Nova Scotia. During his visit, the Minister announced new online services that will improve the client experience and reduce the backlogs.

<<The permanent residence programs that are transitioning to 100% online applications>>

Reducing wait times

During the pandemic, IRCC began conducting telephone and video interviews with sponsors and applicants to quickly process family reunification applications. By modernizing its services, IRCC has now returned to the pre-pandemic service standard: 12 months for new spousal sponsorship applications.

In addition, IRCC has resumed in-person interviews at Canadian and international offices. The department will continue to offer virtual interviews to clients where possible. Moreover, it is also working on expanding the availability of virtual interviews at its overseas offices. This will include a pilot project allowing spousal sponsorship and other clients to take part in virtual interviews at some visa application centres. In this way, clients will not have to travel to a visa office.

<<Also: IRCC to exempt some applicants inside Canada from the IME requirement>>

Expanding online applications for permanent residence

The Minister announced that access to the online application portal for clients has now been expanded to the majority of permanent residence applicants. IRCC will begin transitioning to 100% digital applications for most of its permanent residence programs on September 23. However, the department will maintain alternative formats available for people who require accommodations.

Expanding the application status tracker

By spring 2023, IRCC will have expanded the application status tracker to 7 more permanent residence and temporary residence programs. Likewise, IRCC introduced a citizenship application status tracker for clients in May 2021. This will also be expanded to include access to representatives this September 2022.

Providing better information to clients

IRCC is making further improvements to its online processing times tool to provide more accurate information. Starting this fall 2022, IRCC will publish forward-looking estimates of how long it will take to process an application. This improvement will increase predictability for applicants.

Modernizing the citizenship program

In August 2021, IRCC launched a new tool that allows most citizenship applications to be submitted online. The tool has now expanded to allow groups of adults to apply together. IRCC also intends to expand this tool to offer online applications for minors under the age of 18 by the end of the year.

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