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IRCC Aims to Realign Application Intake to Address Immigration Backlogs

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As part of a new strategy, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) commits to addressing current backlogs and meeting target immigration levels for key programs. The plan will re-evaluate service standards and improve application intake management to make immigration more efficient and streamlined for both applicants and officials.

IRCC’s Strategy: An Immigration System for Canada’s Future

IRCC’s recently unveiled strategy, An Immigration System for Canada’s Future, reveals their intention to achieve service standards once more by aligning application intake with admission spaces. This measure is meant to reduce wait times for applicants by ensuring the resources needed to process applications are aligned with demand.

Aligning Application Intake with Admission Spaces

By managing the number of applicants admitted to various immigration programs, IRCC aims to reduce lengthy waiting periods that occur when program demand exceeds the capacity. This improved intake management will enable applicants and their support networks to plan better for life in Canada, easing their integration process.

Challenges with the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP)

The backlog of PGP applications extends three years into the past, exacerbated by pandemic-induced border closures, office shutdowns, and travel restrictions. IRCC accepted applications throughout this period despite significant processing delays, straining the system further. As a result, approximately 100,000 people face uncertainty as they wait for their applications to be processed.

Immigration Levels Plan 2024-2026: Aiming for Sustainable Growth

The recently released Immigration Levels Plan sets targets for permanent resident admissions from 2024-2026, aiming for steady growth in population and workforce strength. Programs like PGP and the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) have caps based on target levels in the plan to prevent backlogs. In contrast, temporary resident programs do not have application limits, which can lead to large volumes of unprocessed submissions.

IRCC’s Stance on International Students

Canada’s immigration minister, Marc Miller, has expressed disapproval of capping the number of international students in Canada. This highlights the government’s desire to maintain an open and welcoming environment for international students, even amidst complex immigration challenges.

Auditor General report and Current backlog

Adjusting application intake is a crucial aspect of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) strategy to improve processing times. This approach stems from a recent report by Canada’s Auditor General (OAG), which found that IRCC processing times were often excessively long. The OAG report recommends the establishment of attainable and reliable service standards for all permanent residency programs.

Furthermore, the report advises that IRCC should evaluate backlogged applications to identify and address processing delays within its control. It encourages prioritizing the completion of older backlogged applications. The strategy also highlights IRCC’s intention to adopt digital tools that enable officers to process requests from global offices more efficiently. To reflect capacity, adjusting workload in regional offices is also vital, as per the OAG report.

Additionally, the IRCC’s strategy emphasizes increasing the use of Advanced Analytics to automate some determinations for routine cases, with the assurance that there will be no built-in bias. The implementation of this part of the plan is already underway; in September, IRCC announced an increase in employing Advanced Analytics for Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWPs) and Work Permit Extensions processing.

These tools are designed to handle “clerical and repetitive tasks” involved in prioritizing applications, potentially easing application intake management. Consequently, immigration officers will have more time to allocate towards urgent or complex applications.

IRCC’s goal is to process 80% of all applications within service standards or the department’s estimated processing time for an application. These service standards vary according to the application type; Express Entry applications should require no more than six months for processing, while family class sponsorship applications can take up to a year.

As of September 30th, IRCC data reveals 2,194,900 applications in inventory with 928,000 classified as backlog (not processed within service standards). This number reflects a slight decrease from August’s 2,198,000 applications in inventory.

Temporary residence visa applications, including work permits, study visas, and visitor visas, accounted for the highest number of backlogged applications (585,700) in September—an 18% increase compared to August.


IRCC’s bold strategy aims to address the current immigration backlogs by aligning application intake with admission spaces. By implementing these changes, the organization aims to reduce wait times and enhance program efficiency, allowing immigrants to plan for their new lives in Canada more effectively. This not only benefits applicants but also serves to strengthen Canada’s economy and workforce through sustainable population growth.

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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, exclusively written and published by IntraSource. The published information is sourced from various trusted platforms, such as news agencies and online media, mainly the Government of Canada and Canadian online media/websites, and should not be considered as legal or professional advice. IRCC’s requirements may change, so consult a lawyer/s and receive professional advice before making decisions or applications.

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