Recent data from Canada Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) shows that Canada exceeded its target for the number of permanent residents it planned to welcome in 2023.
According to the most recently available pending IRCC data, the department welcomed 471,550 new permanent residents in 2023. This is an increase of 33,950 from 437,600 in 2022.
The figure exceeds the target for 2023 in the Immigration Tier Plan 2023-2025, which planned to accommodate 465,000 permanent residents. The department considered candidates from Express Entry programs, the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and its spouses, partners and children.
The IRCC also published figures for the number of temporary residence applications that were finalized. Please note that these numbers represent the number of final decisions made on candidate applications and some of them are rejections.
Work permit: 1,646,300 applications were finalized, including extensions, an increase of 503,330 from 2022. This includes applications both through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the International Mobility Program.
Study permits: 1,089,600 study permits were completed, including extensions. In 2022, IRCC processed 917,900 final study permit decisions, a year-on-year difference of 171,700.
Finally, IRCC data shows that 293,000 newcomers became canadian citizens between April 1 and December 31, 2023, an increase of 13,900 compared to the same period in 2022 (279,100).
Immigration Tier Plan
The number of new permanent residents received in 2023 shows that IRCC is on track to meet its target of 485,000 in 2024.
Over the next two years, 2025 and 2026, IRCC plans to welcome 500,000 new permanent residents.
Each year, the IRCC publishes the Immigration Tier Plan for the next three years. The Plan sets targets for admissions of permanent residents to Canada. It does not set targets for temporary residents, such as those with a work or study permit.
IRCC does not limit the number of permanent residents who can be admitted to Canada or have their applications processed.
However, on January 22, IRCC introduced a limit on the number of study permits it will issue in 2024. The department says it will issue only 360,000 new study permits, although there is no limit on the number of permit renewals or the number of new student permits. at the postgraduate level of studies.
Additionally, on February 1, the department published ministerial instructions saying it would limit the number of study permit applications processed to 606,250.
IRCC Current Backlog
As of December 31, 2023, there were 2,221,100 applications in inventory at IRCC. Of those, 949,500 were behind.
The IRCC is mandated to process 80% of immigration applications across all lines of business within service standards, or the time the department has mandated it should take to process an application.
Service standards vary depending on the type of application. For example, Express Entry Applications have a six-month service standard and family class sponsorship applications can take 12 months.
Requests that are not processed within service standards are considered backlogged.
Throughout 2022, IRCC IRCC completed more than 5.2 million applications across all lines of business.
Among the total number of applications in inventory, IRCC has 702,000 permanent residence applications in inventory with a backlog of 308,900. This means that 44% of all permanent residence applications currently in inventory have not been processed within service standards.
The same data shows that there were 1,257,000 applications for work permits, study permits and temporary resident (visitor) visas. Of these, 590,800 applications are considered in the portfolio.
The IRCC breaks down the data further and shows that, as of December 31, 2023, 61% of visitor visa applications were backlogged. This contrasts with the 18% of study permit applications that are backlogged. Data on work permits shows that 49% of applications were also backlogged.
As of December, there were 262,100 citizenship applications in inventory. Of those, 49,800, or 19%, were behind.
How IRCC is working to reduce the backlog
The department says measures introduced in recent months are helping to reduce the backlog. It cites the prioritization of processing work permit applications for health-care and agricultural workers and the creation of Canada’s tech talent strategy, which speeds up processing for many foreign workers with experience in in-demand tech occupations.
IRCC also says the creation of an online portal for some permanent residence applications, as well as online application status trackers, are helping to speed up processing.
Additionally, the department has launched an online process for citizenship applications for those 18 years of age and older. Applicants can now also complete citizenship tests online and participate in virtual citizenship ceremonies.