Canada’s immigration backlog rose in May. What’s behind it?

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Canada launches ‘digital nomad’ strategy to win top tech talent: Fraser
The Canadian government is launching a digital nomad strategy for people working at foreign companies to stay for up to six months, Minister of Immigration Sean Fraser said at tech conference Collision in Toronto, Ont., on Tuesday. “We're actually going to be creating a pool of talent that's going to set the stage for more companies to call Canada home in the long term,” Fraser said – Jun 27, 2023

Canada’s immigration backlog rose for the month of May, with officials saying more kinds of applications are being tallied even as the department gets better at handling claims within the target timeframes.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) told Global News, however, that 64 per cent of their applications in May were met within service standards — up from 60 per cent in April.

In April, there were 809,000 immigration applications in backlog. The figure included temporary resident applications, permanent applications and citizenship grants. On June 16, the IRCC’s updated data revealed that the number of backlogged applications had risen to 820,000.

In April, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser had suggested that the PSAC strike that month could cause disruptions in the IRCC’s operations. The strike ended within a matter of weeks, and didn’t appear to cause an increase in the backlog numbers for April.

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The April backlog of 809,000 backlogs were down from the 896,000 reported in March.

IRCC says that despite the slight month-over-month increase in May, the percentage of applications “within service standards” or those applications that were on track to be met within target timeframes, is improving.

“Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)’s most recent update—published on June 16, 2023—shows that 64% of applications in our inventories are within service standards as of May 31, 2023, up from 60% in April. We continue to make progress towards our goal of reducing overall backlogs and processing 80% of new applications within service standards,” an IRCC spokesperson told Global News.

As of May 31, 33 per cent of the 1.3 million temporary resident applications were being processed outside service standards while 27 per cent percent of the 308,000 applications were outside service standards. Of the 640,000 active permanent resident applications, 48 per cent were outside service standards.

IRCC said part of the reason for the increase in backlogs is more applications being counted in the tally for last month.

“Starting this month, we have improved our monthly web tracking to include more applications, such as extensions on temporary residence and proof of citizenship. An increase in our total inventory numbers reflects these changes,” the spokesperson said.

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As of May 31, Canada has already welcomed 221,000 permanent residents, which IRCC said is on track to achieving Canada’s 2023 target of 465,000.

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IRCC processed 417, 000 study permits between January and May, up from 286,000 in the same period last year. They also processed 696,000 permits between January and May, up from 363,000 in the same period in 2022.


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