Canada is on its historic path to welcome 465,000 new immigrants in 2023 and target beyond 500,000 new immigrants annually by 2025. Canada aims to address the backlash of aging demography, low birth rate, and skill level shortages through foreign skilled immigration.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) which is responsible for adding strength to the ambitious political plan and finding ways to fulfill such high immigration levels recently showcased its plans for updating application management systems to help reduce processing times and improve client communication.
IRCC has already begun its transition to 100% digital applications for permanent residence programs in September 2022. By 2026 or earlier, Canada is expecting to benefit immigration applicants with:
- More flexibility with application interviews/processing
- Improved application processing and support
- Provide better estimates of expected application processing times
- Shortened waiting times
- Provide clients with immediate confirmation of successful application submission
- Provide easier access to application information and status updates online
- Help them save both time and money on the medical examination process
- Allow them to plan their immigration journey via increased predictability
Anyone planning to immigrate to Canada in near future will benefit from learning how Canada is focusing on modernization efforts for immigration.
The summary of modernization efforts discussed here is an extract from a presentation made by IRCC to immigration representatives in a meeting on October 12, 2022.
IRCC’s Modernizing Efforts Timeline
Canada had laid out the full implementation of its digital program modernization plan:
- Phase 1: Stabilize (December 2020 to November 2021)
- IRCC would stabilize the legacy Global Case Management System (GCMS) until a new platform is developed in phase three
- Phase 2: Standardize (December 2021 to March 2023)
- IRCC is currently establishing foundational cloud elements to support capabilities that will be delivered in phase three
- Phase 3: Enhance (April 2023 to December 2026)
- IRCC will deliver a new digital operating platform, fast-tracking processing times and improving immigration to Canada
Canada’s Efforts to Modernize Immigration Application System
IRCC is improving its application management systems throughout Canadian immigration to meet increasing immigration targets in a quick time and deliver communication for clients.
Here’s a recap of ongoing modernizing efforts to improve Canadian immigration:
- As part of the 2021 budget, Canada invested $428.9 million over 5 years, with $398.5 million in remaining amortization “to develop and deliver an enterprise-wide digital platform that would gradually replace IRCC’s legacy Global Case Management System (GCMS)”
- Specific to spousal sponsorship applicants, application processing has returned to the service standard of 12 months for new applications
- Introduction of the Permanent Residence Application Tracker
- Online testing and an application tracker/submission system were introduced for citizenship applicants
- Even virtual citizenship ceremonies were conducted, allowing interested candidates to self-administer their oath by signed attestation and celebrate their citizenship afterward
In near future, IRCC is planning to:
- Update the online processing times tool and begin publishing estimates of application processing times
- Make certain applicants exempt from requiring a medical examination for immigration
- Conduct more telephone and video interviews for some programs, including expanding the availability of virtual interviews at our overseas offices and even some visa application centers
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