Processing Delays Affecting 1.8 Million Immigrants 

The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reveals that it experienced processing delays in the middle of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Although it’s two years into the pandemic, the physical offices of the department remain closed. Many applicants mentioned that they are stuck and have no way to check their files. 

Per data collated by the IRCC, as of the 27th of October, the country had a backlog of about 1.8 million immigration applications. This includes permanent residence applications (548,195), temporary residence applications for temp resident visas, visitor extension, work and study permits (775,741), and Canadian citizenship applications (468,000). Before the pandemic, the processing of permanent residency applications took an average of six months.

Potential immigrants are devastated by these delays

“Ongoing international travel restrictions, border restrictions, limited operational capacity overseas, and the inability on the part of clients to obtain documentation due to the effects of COVID-19 have created barriers within the processing continuum. This hinders IRCC’s ability to finalize applications, creating delays that are outside IRCC’s control,” the department mentioned in an official statement.

International students waiting for permits are also facing delays. A Ph.D. candidate at the University of British Columbia had to go through 27 months of phone calls and emails before receiving his permit. He felt like he was “wasting three years of life and almost giving up on a dream.”

Moreover, these delays are keeping families and loved ones apart. Although IRCC states that their priority is to unify families, many have been waiting for over 12 months to meet their family members.