An immigration system that works best for newcomers

Canada continues to be a favourite destination for people who are looking for a new place to work, study and experience a new life. That’s why Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is committed to modernizing the immigration system to speed up the processing of applications and provide newcomers with the experience they expect and deserve.

The Honorable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, visited IRCC’s application processing center in New Waterford, Nova Scotia to announce new online services in our immigration system that help improve the customer experience and reduce delays.

Waiting time

Sean Fraser will waive the mandatory immigration medical examination for permanent and temporary resident applicants who are already in Canada and meet certain criteria.

Thus, the waiting time will not take such a long period and the applications will be processed faster due to the increase of, 1250 new employees hired.

During the pandemic, IRCC began conducting phone and video interviews with sponsors and applicants. Thanks to these rapid changes, the department was able to welcome more than 69,000 spouses and children in 2021.

Having modernized services and added the necessary support, IRCC has now returned to the pre-pandemic service standard of 12 months for all new spousal sponsorship applications.

Now that restrictions have been eased worldwide, IRCC has resumed interviews in Canadian and international offices. To give customers more flexibility, the department continues to offer them virtual interviews where possible. And we are also improving the system of virtual interviews in our offices abroad.

Expansion of online applications for permanent residence

The Minister said that, as was agreed in January 2022, access to the online application portal for customers has now been extended to most applicants for permanent residence.

On September 23, IRCC will begin transitioning to fully digital applications for most permanent residence programs, with alternative formats available for people who required them.

Providing better information to the customers

In February 2022, IRCC also launched a new application status tracker that allowed permanent residence applicants and their legal representatives to check their application status online more easily.

By spring 2023, IRCC will expand this application status tracker by including 7 more permanent and temporary resident programs.

In May 2021, IRCC also launched a citizenship application status tracker for customers, which will be expanded this month to provide access for lawyers or people acting as representatives.

Starting this fall, IRCC will publish estimates of how long it will take to process an application, increasing predictability for applicants to provide more accurate information.

Modernization of the citizenship program

With the onset of the pandemic, IRCC also began offering more online service options for citizenship applicants, including virtual ceremonies and online citizenship tests.

In August 2021, IRCC launched a new tool that allows most citizenship applications to be submitted online. The tool is open to applicants aged 18 and over and has now been expanded to allow groups of adults to apply together. By the end of the year, IRCC intends to improve this tool to offer online applications for minors under the age of 18.

IRCC continues to improve the system for processing applications so that newcomers continue to make a positive contribution to Canada.

IRCC will continue to find ways to modernize and improve the way the system works so that applicants receive the service they expect, and that Canada will be a priority destination where people want to come.

“Immigration is about people. It’s about starting a new job, reuniting a family, and creating a new life in this beautiful country we call home. As we look to strengthen our immigration system by updating our technology, people—our clients—must be at the center of all that we do. By adding resources where they are needed and leveraging technology to make processing faster and applying easier for our clients, we can give newcomers and new citizens the welcoming experience they deserve.” – The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship


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