Early Adopters of IRCC’s New Permanent Residence Portal Ignored by IRCC as Applications go Unacknowledged

by Ronalee Carey Law

May 2022

When IRCC came out with their new Permanent Residence Portal, I jumped on the chance to submit applications electronically through a portal that allowed me to log in on the first try without having to resort to a different browser, refresh, log in with incognito mode, hit the backspace key a dozen times, or offer my first-born as a living sacrifice. Submitting applications online meant no lost documents, no courier fees, and saving trees. Given a chance to submit online, almost all my clients opted for the electronic option.

I now regret having advised family sponsorship applicants to go this route. My clients, and those who were interviewed for a recent Toronto Star article, have been waiting months for an acknowledgement of receipt. Yet, paper applications submitted months later have already received application numbers, medical and biometric instructions, work permits, and in some cases, even approvals of their applications. 

I acknowledge that IRCC is under tremendous strain. There is a massive backlog of applications. IRCC is searching for case processing agents in multiple cities across Canada. However, a backlog doesn’t justify inequitable treatment.

Delays most impact spouses who are abroad. Recently, a colleague acquired IRCC statistics showing that while 91% of spousal sponsorship applications are approved, only 47% of visitor visa applications are accepted for people with spousal sponsorship applications in processing. Imagine being forced to live apart from your spouse for almost two years after marriage without being able to visit. I wonder, how many relationships are buckling under this strain?

Without an application number, there is no way to check the status of an application. IRCC’s new status tracker for sponsorship applications is virtually useless until the initial completeness check is done. And even then, it is of little utility, as it is often not updated.

IRCC is working on moving more applications online. Until I am assured that processing procedures for new online applications are established, I won’t be an early adopter.