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Canada’s immigration backlog drops to 2.4 mn people

Canada’s immigration backlog has come down to just over 2.4 million from 2.6 last month, new data by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) said.

The data showed a large reduction in the backlog of temporary residence applications while the permanent residence backlog registered a slight increase.

The permanent residence inventory stood at 506,421 people as of November 3, compared to 505,562 as of October 3, and the temporary residence inventory stood at 1,537,566 people in November, compared to 1,651,649 persons last month, the CIC News reported.

The visa processing backlog has grown since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the recent immigration plan, Canada has set a target of welcoming over 400,000 new immigrants each year, between 2022-2024.

As of November 3, there are 39,589 Express Entry applications waiting in the queue. Express Entry is Canada’s main way of managing skilled worker applications.

The second main way is through the Provincial Nominee Programme (PNP) — which has an inventory of 62,073 total applications — followed by Quebec’s skilled worker programs. According to the IRCC, there were 2.6 million applications in IRCC’s inventory on September 30, out of which 1.1 million were within service standards and 1.5 million were considered backlog. This means that over the past month, IRCC has made some progress toward reducing the backlog.

Acknowledging the backlog, IRCC has said that it is taking steps to improve the speed at which applications are processed. It aims to have a less than 50 percent backlog across all lines of business by the end of March 2023, CIC News reported.

In June, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau created a task force to evaluate the current backlog in services and make suggestions on short-term and long-term improvements. IRCC started the transition towards 100 percent digital applications for most permanent resident programs on September 23, with accommodations made for those who are unable to apply online to clear the backlog on time. It also aims to make all citizenship applications digital by the end of this year, apart from investing $85 million to hire 1,250 new staff by the end of the year to increase processing capacity.

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