IRCC Visa and Residency Processing Times

Published on: Aug 17, 2018 | Tags: Canada eTA, Canada Visa Processing


The IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) is shaking up its working methods to improve the process of applying to enter Canada. This government body is aware that Canada immigration signifies a life-changing event for all refugees and asylum seekers, with important implications for other applicant categories too. When applications take a long time to process, individuals and their families experience frustration and there are social and economic consequences. Therefore, the IRCC has introduced some changes to make the experience better for permanent resident applicants and other clients.

Waiting times will be better defined

From now on, IRCC clients will be given a clearer indication of the waiting period for processing their applications. Thanks to an improved system for estimating processing times, from July 31, 2018, the IRCC is able to better project handling times. This means that applicants will be given realistic expectations of how long they will need to wait under normal circumstances if they submit their application on a given date.

In calculating these timescales as part of the improved processing system, the IRCC is taking into account a number of important factors in the application process. These include how many applications are currently being processed and the number of admissions that are permitted every year according to the plan for multi-year immigration levels.

The IRCC's hard work is paying off

During recent years, the IRCC has taken important steps to reduce processing times for many different categories of permanent residents. At the same time, this government body has had to work hard to meet the steadily increasing demand for Canada visa applications, Canada ETA requests and study and work permits. These improvements to client services have been inspired by the year-on-year increase in immigration numbers. The IRCC has realized it needs to plan in advance and take more control of Canada immigration across multiple categories. Consequently, new and innovative processes in Canada and overseas will be implemented to swiftly process applications.

New methods for data analysis and continuous monitoring

A major factor in helping to anticipate processing times is the way the IRCC now views its data. So far, processing times for permanent residence applications have been analyzed from a historical point of view. These figures showed the length of time for processing 80% of applications over a 12-month period. Although historical data is accurate, it does not take into account the growing future demand. The IRCC's new methods anticipate future processing times, taking into account the rising number of requests for permanent residency and Canada visa applications. Not only will clients in the targeted categories benefit, but also those applying for a Canada ETA. These people will have peace of mind that the entire processing system is running as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

Looking ahead, the IRCC is aiming at continuous improvement in the way it processes applications. It will increasingly integrate and modernize systems and working methods to ensure Canadian taxpayers obtain the best value for money while clients benefit from an efficient system with minimal frustration. The IRCC is monitoring processing times very carefully and will keep making improvements and changes to meet current and future demands.

The categories that will benefit

It is important to note that the new anticipated processing times are relevant to applications received from July 31, 2018, in the following categories:

  • Sponsored family members
  • Parents and grandparents
  • Provincial nominees applying for non-express entry
  • Economic class
  • Start-up visas
  • Quebec skilled workers
  • Humanitarian and compassionate applicants

Applicants cannot trick the system

Most noteworthy is that clients cannot simply withdraw their earlier application and then reapply in the hope of obtaining a quicker result. This would not be an efficient way to proceed as any part of their application that had already been processed would cease to be valid. Clients would, therefore, have to start the entire process again, with the necessary form-filling and providing of documentary evidence. In addition, some application categories such as 'Parents and Grandparents' and 'Express Entry' may not subsequently be invited to re-apply or receive a sponsorship invitation if they withdraw their application. In summary, while the new and improved processing system will benefit new applicants from July 31, 2018, but those who are already in the pipeline will have to wait patiently for the process to run its course.

A positive step for the Canadian government

The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen, has said that improving the service for applicants has been a particular area of focus for his department over recent years. Upgrading the system is a significant step to provide accurate information to all stakeholders. Assuming an application is accepted, this will help clients to prepare for their life in Canada in the best possible manner.


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