In February Canada had an immigration backlog of 1.8 million applicants, including applications from future citizens, permanent residents, international students, temporary workers and visitors. The Canadian government has faced strong criticism from businesses and immigration advocates on the growing immigration backlog and wait times while Canada is experiencing an extreme labour shortage. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reported that the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) immigration backlog is improving and went down by over 9,000 applicants from December 15, 2021, to February 28, 2022.
- IRCC has processed more FSWP skilled worker applications in the last 2.5 months than in all of 2021
- In the 2nd half of 2021, IRCC processed about 600 FSWP applicants per month
- The number of Canadian Experience Class (CEC) applicants on the waiting list dropped by over 12,000
- Nearly 24,000 visas were processed under the Express Entry pathway during this period
- Canada's economic class immigration backlog is 231,187 people waiting on decisions for their applications as of February 28
Canada Immigration Minister Sean Fraser recently said IRCC would use its $85 million budget to reduce processing times which were made worse by the pandemic. He announced Canada's plan to welcome 432,000 Permanent Residents in 2022 in the 2022-24 Immigration Levels Plan. He stated Canada is "focused on economic recovery, and immigration is the key to getting there."
Before the pandemic, nearly 50% of all successful Express Entry candidates applied via the Federal Skilled Worker Program, but in 2021 Canada slowed down the FSW applicants to focus on in-Canada CEC applicants. The IRCC standard is to process all Express Entry applications within 6 months.
A November internal IRCC memo indicated that there will be no new Express Entry draws of Invitations to Apply for FSW, CEC and Federal Skilled Trades (FST) applicants for at least 6 months, or mid-2022.
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