On September 1, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser took the initiative to start new online services across the immigration system of Canada. These services were introduced to enhance the client experience and reduce backlogs.
The pandemic laid emphasis on the need for a rationalized immigration system. From the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) centre in Nova Scotia, New Waterford, Fraser announced the most recent updates on how digitization is having an effect on operations at IRCC.
Listed below are new enhancements for newcomers and future citizens:
Certain in-Canada candidates exempt from medical exams
To reduce wait times, Fraser has decided to exempt applicants (permanent and temporary residents) who are already in Canada from taking the immigration medical exam. This only applies to those candidates who meet certain criteria. However, the media release did not state the criteria or when the measure would come into effect. IRCC is expecting the criteria to impact approximately 180,000 newcomers.
Canada had earlier waived the requirement for the medical exam between June 2021 and March 2022.
Immigration applications going 100% digital on September 23
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will commence transitioning to 100% digital applications for the majority of PR (permanent residence) programs on September 23. People who require alternative formats can avail alternative formats.
The immigration department is dedicated to making immigration applications digital this past January. IRCC informed CIC news that it expected the online application portal to be completely implemented in the spring or summer of 2022.
More programs to have application status trackers
By spring 2023, it is expected that 7 more permanent residence and temporary residence programs will have application status trackers. They will be similar to the ones launched in February for spousal, partner, and dependent child sponsorship candidates. The citizenship application status tracker launched for clients in May 2021 will be extended to incorporate access to representatives for a while this month.
IRCC is enhancing its online processing times tool so it can provide precise information as well. Coming this fall, IRCC will bring out forward-looking estimates of how long it will take for application processing.
Modernizing Canadian citizenship
In August 2021, a tool was launched by IRCC allowing a number of citizenship applications to be submitted online. This effective tool allows adult groups of age 18 and older to apply collectively. In fact, IRCC looks forward to expanding this tool to offer online applications for minors (under 18 years of age) by end of 2022.
Canada, until now, has surpassed its citizenship goals for 2021-2022, which admit over 217,000 new citizens. From April 1 to July 31, Canada welcomed over 116,000 new citizens with arms wide open in comparison with 35,000 in the same period last year.
Over 300,000 new permanent residents so far in 2022
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada set a significant record when it admitted over 405,000 new permanent residents in the “Land of Maple Leaf”. Our goal for this year is to receive 431,000 permanent residents, and we are on the verge of achieving the quoted figure. Until now, we have welcomed 300,000 permanent residents to the country, exceeding the milestone significantly in any of the previous years.
Fraser stated in the media release “Immigration is all 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.”