Canada visa application backlog decreases despite high demand

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According to IRCC data, as of July 31, there were 802,600 backlogged applications out of a total of 2,274,600. The numbers indicate a reduction in the backlog since the last update on May 31, when 820,000 applications were considered backlogged out of 2,248,000 in May. The summer is typically a time when applications increase, particularly for study permits, work permits, and temporary resident visas. A backlog of applications is defined by IRCC as unprocessed and unfinalized applications, and it is considered a backlog of applications when they are not processed within service standards.

The time typically needed by the IRCC to finish processing an application is referred to as the service standard, and it can vary depending on the type of application. For instance, handling an Express Entry application for permanent residency is expected to require six months, while processing a study permit application should ideally take 60 days. The IRCC aims to process approximately 80% of all applications within the defined service standards, provided the backlog remains at or below 20%. In 2022, the IRCC successfully concluded over 5.2 million applications across all its operational areas.

Permanent residence
IRCC currently has 631,500 permanent resident (PR) applications in inventory, of which 290,500, or 46%, are backlogged. Compared to May, when 640,000 applications were in inventory and 48% had not been processed within service standards, there are fewer PR applications in inventory now.

IRCC breaks down its backlog projections for PR applications into three categories. Federal High Skilled Workers are considered to be the first to have a backlog and IRCC projected a backlog of 20% by July 2023. However, there is currently a backlog of 16%.

The backlog of Express Entry applications for applicants in the Provincial Nominee Programme (PNP) has not changed. Similar to the May 31 statistics, 30% of these applications are backlogged, which is 10% more than the intended 20% and 8% more than estimates. The backlog of applications for permanent residency for spouses, partners, and children is at 18%, which is 2% less than it was in May and less than the predicted 24%.

Citizenship
Based on citizenship application data, it’s reported that out of the 296,900 applications currently on hand, 67,900 of them, equivalent to 23%, are considered backlogged. This represents a 4% reduction compared to May, when the backlog was estimated at 27%.

The IRCC’s earlier projection of a 24% delay in processing citizenship applications closely aligns with the statistics observed in July. It is expected that the backlog may increase to 26% during August and September.

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