Canada’s immigration backlog grows to 2.7 million people

As always, provides a valuable service sharing the detailed numbers one backlogs (it appears I was too charitable with respect to citizenship in my May update):

Canada continues to struggle with its immigration applications as its inventory now stands at some 2.7 million people.

This represents a growth of nearly 300,000 people over the past six weeks.

The backlog has nearly doubled over the past year and nearly tripled since the start of the pandemic.

It has progressed as follows since last July:

The citizenship inventory stands at 444,792 applicants as of July 15, compared to 394,664 on June 1.

The permanent residence inventory stands at 514,116 people as of July 17, compared to 522,047 as of June 6.

On July 17, the temporary residence inventory stood at 1,720,123 people, compared to 1,471,173 persons, also as of June 6.

CIC News made this data request to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada(IRCC) on June 30 and received the data on July 18.

Express Entry draws resume due to backlog reduction

A total of 51,616 Express Entry applicants are waiting on decisions as of July 17, a significant reduction from the 88,903 reported when comparable was available on March 15.

The reduction in Express Entry backlogs means IRCC can once again hold all program draws, and processing times for new Express Entry applicants are back to the six-month standard. On July 6, IRCC held its first all-program draw since December 2020.

Family class inventory is up slightly

The overall inventory of family class applicants is up to 118,251 persons compared to 112,837 persons on June 6.

The Spouses, Partners and Children Program inventory has increased compared to early June. It stands at 68,159 persons compared to 67,929 persons last month. The figure for July was found by adding Spouses and Partners to Children and Other Family Class for the purpose of comparison.

The Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP) has seen another increase. It is now at 47,025 persons compared to 41,802 persons. IRCC has yet to announce details on its plans for the PGP 2022.

Discover if You Are Eligible for Canadian Immigration

Summer backlog growth is normal, to an extent

The temporary residence inventory has increased by nearly 250,000 persons compared to June 6.

Increases were observed in the number of applicants for study permits, temporary resident visas, visitor records, work permits, and work permit extensions.

The growth of IRCC’s backlog is normal to an extent over the summer months. More people look to obtain temporary resident visas to visit family and friends during the warmest time of the year in Canada.

In addition, many international students who complete their studies in the spring go on to apply for Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWP), which is Canada’s largest work permit category.

Most international students also submit their study permit applications in the months leading up to the start of Canada’s academic calendar. This results in Canada usually welcoming over 200,000 new international students leading into September each year.

The main exception is the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel(CUAET), which Canada introduced in March to provide Ukrainians with the opportunity to relocate following Russia’s invasion. Since March 17, IRCC has received 362,664 CUAET applications, causing its backlog to swell.

However, the overall growth of the backlog, a nearly three-fold increase since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, highlights ongoing challenges with Canada’s immigration system. It is a function of IRCC continuing to welcome new applications throughout the pandemic even though its processing capacity was limited for large stretches of 2020 and 2021.

The department is now playing catch-up and is taking steps such as hiring additional processing staff and looking to invest in technological upgrades.

Meanwhile, other arms of the federal government have taken notice of Canada’s immigration application challenges.

In May, the Canadian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM) began a study on the backlogs. It will result in a public study containing recommendations for improvement.

In June, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau created a federal task force to address backlog challenges. It is made up of a group of federal ministers, who will make recommendations to address issues that are causing the delay in application processing. The goal is to create both long-term and short-term solutions that will clear the backlogs and improve the quality and speed of services.

Inventory in tables

The following tables show more details on IRCC’s inventory.

Citizenship Inventory

Application type Persons as of July 15, 2022
Grant 387,368
Proof 57,424
Total Citizenship Inventory 444,792

Immigration Inventory

Immigration Category Persons as of July 17
Economic Class 211,903
Family Class 118,251
Humanitarian & Compassionate / Public Policy 29,848
Permit Holders Class 16
Protected Persons 154,098
Total Immigration Inventory 514,116

Express Entry Inventory

Immigration Category Persons as of July 17
Canadian Experience Class (EE) 5,195
Federal Skilled Workers (EE) 18,127
Skilled Trades (EE) 369
Provincial/Territorial Nominees (EE) 27,925
Total Immigration Inventory 51,616

Family Class Inventory

Immigration Category Persons as of July 17, 2022
Children & Other Family Class 9,147
FCH-Family relations – H&C 3,067
Parents and Grandparents 47,025
Spouses & Partners 59,012
Total Family Class Inventory 118,251

Economic Class Inventory

Immigration category Persons as of July 17, 2022
Agri-Food Pilot Program 765
Atlantic Immigration Pilot Programs 2,380
Atlantic Immigration Program 33
Canadian Experience Class (EE) 5,195
Canadian Experience Class (No EE) 109
Caring for Children 60
Federal Entrepreneur 4
Federal Self Employed 4,502
Federal Skilled Workers (C-50) 123
Federal Skilled Workers (EE) 18,127
Federal Skilled Workers (Pre C-50) 23
High Medical Needs 7
Home Child Care Pilot 18,191
Home Support Worker Pilot 6,912
Interim Pathway Measure 767
Live-in Caregiver 931
Provincial/Territorial Nominees (EE) 27,925
Provincial/Territorial Nominees (No EE) 35,599
Quebec Entrepreneur 281
Quebec Investor 11,115
Quebec Self Employed 94
Quebec Skilled Workers 24,570
Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot 1,118
Skilled Trades (EE) 369
Skilled Trades (No EE) 2
Start-up Business 1,309
TR to PR 51,392
Total Economic Class Inventory 211,903

Humanitarian and Compassionate Inventory

Immigration Category Persons as of July 17, 2022
HC & PH class-ADM Dependant Person Overseas 44
Humanitarian & Compassionate Straight 3,067
Humanitarian & Compassionate with Risk or Discrimination 47,025
Public Policy With RAP 59,012
Public Policy Without RAP 118,251
Total H&C Inventory 5,341

Permit Holders Inventory

Immigration Category Persons as of July 17, 2022
Permit Holders Class 16
Total Permit Holders Inventory 16

Protected Persons Inventory

Immigration Category Persons as of July 17, 2022
Blended Visa Office-Referred 150
Dependants Abroad of Protected Persons 26,628
Federal Government-assisted Refugees 33,531
Privately Sponsored Refugees 71,076
Protected Persons Landed In Canada 21,770
Quebec Government-assisted Refugees 943
Total Protected Persons Inventory 154,098

Temporary Residence Inventory

Application type Persons as of July 17, 2022
Study Permit 196,729
Study Permit Extension 35,482
Temporary Resident Visa 903,971
Visitor Record 90,195
Work Permit 313,710
Work Permit – Extension 180,036
Total Temporary Residence Inventory 1,720,123

Source: Canada’s immigration backlog grows to 2.7 million people

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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