There has been a large reduction in the backlog of temporary residence applications, while the permanent residence backlog has increased slightly.

Canada’s immigration backlog has shrunk to just over 2.4 million according to new data obtained from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
In an email to CIC News, IRCC provided updated data, which is current as of November 3.
Inventory across all lines of business has progressed as follows since July 2021:

Current Inventories

The citizenship inventory stands at 331,401 applicants as of October 31, up from 351,964 on October 3.

The permanent residence inventory stands at 506,421 people as of November 3, compared to 505,562 as of October 3.

Also on November 3, the temporary residence inventory stood at 1,537,566 people, compared to 1,651,649 people on October 3.

Thus, there were reductions in two of the three broad categories, with the largest reduction in the temporary residence inventory.

Immigration Category Persons as of November 3, 2022
Permanent residence 506,421
Temporary residence 1,573,566
Citizenship 331,401
Grand Total 2,411,388

Express Entry and PNP inventories

As of November 3, there are 39,589 Express Entry applications waiting in the queue.

IRCC has resumed invitation rounds for Express Entry candidates from all programs beginning in July. The draws were limited to candidates in the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) between September 21, 2021 and July 6, 2022 as IRCC struggles to meet its Express Entry application processing service standard in six months or less.

Pausing Express Entry invitations for Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates allowed IRCC to reduce Express Entry inventory and the department returned to its six-month service standard for those who received an invitation for permanent residence since July 6.

The PNP has an inventory of 62,073 total applications (both basic and enhanced combined).

Family Class Inventory

The inventory of all family class immigration programs stands at 128,112, compared to 125,488 on October 3.

The Spouses and Partners program is among the largest inventories among all lines of business, at 61,118, a minimal increase compared to October 3.

The Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP) has an inventory of 55,653 people compared to 53,530 people awaiting decisions in October.

Service Standards

According to the IRCC website that tracks app inventory across all lines of business, as of September 30 there were 2.6 million apps in IRCC inventory. Of those, 1.1 million were within service standards and 1.5 million were considered late. This means that over the last month IRCC has made some progress in reducing the backlog.

IRCC aims to process 80% of applications in all lines of business within service standards, or the goal that IRCC sets for processing the average application, depending on the immigration program.

The service standard is different from the actual amount of time IRCC takes to process requests. Requests that are not processed within the service standard for your program are considered included in the backlog.

Each application has a different service standard. For example, as noted above, an application for permanent residence through an Express Entry program has a standard of six months. It is longer for other economy class business lines. IRCC states that their standard of service for spouse and child family class sponsorship is 12 months.

Temporary residence applications have service standards that range from 60 to 120 days depending on the type of application (work or study) and whether it was filed within Canada or from abroad.

IRCC Working on the Backlog

IRCC has acknowledged the delay and says it is taking steps to improve the speed at which applications are processed.
The department aims to be less than 50% behind schedule across all lines of business by the end of March 2023. To eliminate the schedule backlog, IRCC began transitioning to 100% digital applications for most permanent residents on September 23, with accommodations made for those unable to apply online.

This transition also includes citizenship applications, which are now 100% online for all applicants over the age of 18. IRCC aims to make all citizenship applications digital by the end of this year, including those from under 18s.

IRCC has also invested $85 million in hiring 1,250 new employees by the end of the fall to increase processing capacity and says it is modernizing and streamlining the system.

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