Immigration Program: IRCC Results Highlights

Further to yesterday’s highlighting of the citizenship program results, reviewed results for the other programs. As always, it is the commitments not met that are more interesting than the ones met (perhaps unfairly).

I have thus focused on those commitments that IRCC did not meet by a margin of five percent or more, with the exception of francophone immigration outside Quebec.

The ones I find most concerning pertain to language skills, adherence to service standards in a number of areas, and earnings of immigrants:

Only 37 percent of settlement clients improved their official language skills compared to the target of 60 percent.

“The November 2017 Evaluation of the Settlement Program showed that higher-need clients progress at a slower pace. The growing number of clients in basic settlement language training classes who have low language and literacy skills is due in part to the Department’s goal to reduce waitlists for priority clients at basic levels and to the increase in admissions of vulnerable newcomers. There are many learners in part-time classes who, compared to those in full-time classes, may not progress as quickly. This could explain why the number of clients who improved one of their skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) by one level has declined.”

0 percent of permanent resident business lines that adhered to service standards compared to the target of 100 percent

“Substantial efforts were made to reduce Express entry (EE) applications that took more than 6 months to process. While service standards are being met for a higher number of applications compared to previous years, this was offset by an increase in applications and the processing of older applications. Early results showed progression towards higher admission targets in EE and efforts to encourage higher intake caused slowing in the processing continuum, having an impact on service standards. IRCC remained committed to finalizing the higher number of cases and made adjustments to the production environment, but cases near finalization were older than expected and the time to train employees and adjust the workflow did not produce results as planned. IRCC does not control intake for Provincial Nominee Program (paper applications) and Quebec-selected Skilled Workers (QSW) and inventories remain larger than can be accommodated within standards; and for QSW, IRCC does not control output.”

2.82 percent of permanent residents admitted to Canada, outside Quebec, who identify as French-speaking compared to the target of 4.4 percent

“Recent changes to selection tools, including changes in 2017 to assign additional points to candidates with strong French-language skills under Express Entry, have been increasing French-speaking admissions outside of Quebec. The Department is also pursuing year-round targeted promotion and recruitment support activities to attract a growing number of qualified French-speaking candidates. As of 2019, a more accurate and inclusive definition has been used to count French-speaking immigrants outside Quebec, resulting in a notable impact on admissions data. The new definition moves away from the concept of “mother tongue” and focuses instead on first Canadian official language for which they are most at ease.”

32 percent of asylum claims made in Canada that are referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada within service standards compared to target of 97 percent

“To provide the Government greater flexibility to manage volumes at the border, the requirement to complete the eligibility assessment within three days was repealed in June 2019 as part of the Budget 2019 Implementation Act. The intent remains to determine claim eligibility as fast as possible. Once a claim is received, an acknowledgement of claim letter is issued to the claimant within three days, which can be provided as proof of Interim Federal Health Program coverage until an eligibility decision is made, and a refugee protection claimant document is issued.”

44 percent of provincial nominee principal applicants with employment earnings at or above the Canadian average, five years after landing, compared to target of 50 percent

“Five years after landing, about 44% of provincial nominee immigrants had employment earnings at or above the Canadian average. This is a drop from almost 48% in 2016 and about 51% in the previous year. While this figure still continues to demonstrate the ability of provincial economic immigrants to earn employment income on par with, or above, the Canadian average, it has been below the target of 50% for the last 2 years. This might be attributed to a number of factors, such as growth in the provincial economic immigration program allowing for greater diversity in the types of occupations (and associated wage levels) being filled by provincial nominees. This indicator is an important factor in assessing an immigrant’s capability to integrate into the economy. Note: The result is subject to change as the Pandemic has affected data reporting capabilities by our partners.”

19 percent of clients who received language training services compared to target of 25 percent

“In 2019–20, approximately 105,000 unique clients accessed language training services, which is relatively the same as in 2018–19. However, the percentage of clients who received language training services, as a proportion of all settlement clients, has declined year over year, decreasing from about 20% in 2018–19, 24% in 2017–18, and 26% in 2016–17. The admission of vulnerable populations with lower language and literacy levels has resulted in a greater number of clients who have complex needs and require additional support which could impact the timing and their ability to appropriately access services. Since there is high demand for language training, the Department has prioritized clients at basic levels who, compared to learners at higher levels, may occupy seats for a longer period of time. The Department also provides other options to newcomers to improve their official language skills, such as employment-related language training and workplace-based communication workshops.”

80 percent of temporary resident business lines that adhere to service standards compared to target of 100 percent

“In the past fiscal year, the Department met targeted service standards for eight out of ten (80%) temporary resident business lines. Service standards were not met for temporary resident visas and work permit applications for International Experience Canada. The Department continues to implement and explore measures to respond to higher volumes, and improve services and processing times.”


About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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