Recently, the government of Canada revealed some of its plans to help reduce immigration times for those who wish to come to Canada. With an immigration backlog of around 1.8 million applications, and some applicants waiting for an answer to their application for more than two years, new information on how the immigration system will be made more efficient was needed.
As we move forward into 2022, there has been greater clarification on how the immigration backlog will be cleared, along with some avenues to become permanent residents of Canada.
As expected, the Canadian government unveiled a new Immigration Levels Plan on February 14. Every year, the government releases an Immigration Levels Plan that gives a number of permanent residents entry guidelines as a goal to be admitted into Canada each year for the following three years. The previous Immigration Levels Plan called for 411,000 new permanent residents to be admitted to Canada in 2022.
The new Immigration Levels Plan for 2022-2024 calls for increased immigration levels when compared with the previous plan. The updated plan aims to welcome 431,645 permanent residents in 2022, 447,055 in 2023, and 451,000 in 2024. This represents a significant increase in the target number for new residents when compared with the previous plan.
The new plan offers a look into how different pathways for immigrating to Canada may open in the near future. For example, a majority of the immigrants accepted under the new plan will be Economic Class immigrants. Of the Economic Class immigrants, the Immigration Levels Plan accounts for 83,500 people to come to Canada under the Provincial Nominee Program. Overall, Express Entry admissions are projected to be lower in 2022 and will increase in 2023 and 2024 based on the new plan. Around a quarter of the admissions in 2022 under the new plan will be part of the family class with the majority of family admissions being part of the Spouses, Partners and Children class. Nearly 20% of the remaining admissions will come from refugees and protected persons, in addition to humanitarian admissions.
In addition to the above, there will be several other pathways to permanent residence including, a pathway for talent retention that would grant permanent residence to temporary residents already in Canada through time limit pathways for essential workers that was launched in Spring 2021. It is further likely the special measures for granting permanent residence to refugee claimants working in health care during the pandemic will continue based on the language in the Immigration Levels Plan.
A large part of paring down the number of applications in the backlog and keeping Canada’s immigration system backlog free in the future has to do with modernizing the immigration system in order to keep up with application demands. In order to address the issues with immigration, the Canadian government promised $85 million that would be put towards reducing the number of outstanding applications.
For the first time in Canadian history, the year 2021 saw the largest number of immigrants admitted to Canada. Given the current backlogs and the goal of welcoming record numbers of immigrants over the next few years, the efficiency of the immigration system is of the utmost importance. Going forward, more concrete plans have been revealed discussing how the immigration system will be modernized to be made more efficient.
To address the current needs, the $85 million will be used to help hire more staff in order to return processing times to the standard. Digitization of applications has also begun which will help increase the speed of processing. The digital application portal is also going to be expanded to include more types of applications this summer. Part of the online application portal will be a permanent residence application tracker, which is supposed to launch by the end of February. The online tracker should help applicants easily access their application information and check the status of their application.
In the future, one of the efficiency improvements mentioned is the expansion of the use of advanced data analytics for processing applications. Data analytics will help immigration officers sort and process applications submitted from outside Canada. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has revealed that using data analytics has resulted in routine applications being processed 87% faster while maintaining program integrity. Program integrity is maintained as an immigration officer will always view an application and make the final decision, rather than leaving a decision up to the analytics alone.
As of now, Express Entry draws in the Federal Skilled Workers Program are still not happening. Immigration Minister Sean Fraser addressed this issue and said that while there is not a definite date set for when draws will resume, he did say that draws for Federal Skilled Workers will resume in the near future. Further, it is possible we will see occupation-specific express entry draws in the future based on comments from the immigration minister. Although details are a bit sparse right now, in the months to come more information will come to light about the future of Express Entry as the world moves into a post-pandemic era.
Garson Immigration Law is a firm exclusively dedicated to the practice of immigration law. We successfully guide clients through the immigration process, with an eye toward the ever-changing regulations in light of COVID-19. We will work to find an effective solution for your individual immigration needs and ensure you are positioned for success with respect to your application.
The immigration lawyers at Garson Immigration Law are continuing to monitor the immigration fallout in relation to COVID-19 and will provide updates as the situation develops. If you have any questions about preparing an application or eligibility under the Immigration Levels Plan, do not hesitate to reach out to us online or by calling us at 416-321-2860.