New Measures to Tackle Backlogs Will There be Relief To Those Waiting?

by Ronalee Carey Law

August 2022

Last week, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced plans to hire 1,250 new employees to help address the backlogs that continue to plague the department. If you’d like to apply, here is the link. Of course, you must be legally entitled to work in Canada, and the advertisement states, ‘Preference will be given to Canadian citizens and permanent residents.’

This hiring comes in the wake of unprecedented backlogs of immigration applications. In IRCC’s announcement, they admitted that at the end of July, 54% of applications in their inventory were considered to be in the backlog. The Minister stated, ‘responding to humanitarian crises and updating aging technology to meet demands have led to processing delays and longer wait times.’

IRCC has a new webpage detailing how many applications are in inventory and their targets for when they will have reduced the backlogs.  

I applaud IRCC’s transparency in admitting how many applications it has to process. However, as an advocate for many of the individuals waiting in the queue, I wish for the following:

  • Process applications on a ‘first in, first out’ basis. I constantly see clients whose applications are finalized before those I send in earlier, with no factors in the older applications that would cause delay.
  • Complete the initial review and send correspondence acknowledging receipt of the applications as soon as possible. Until this correspondence is received, there is no application number assigned. We cannot provide updates without an application number, such as changes in the client’s residential address.
  • Support visa offices carrying the highest inventory, particularly those in India. As reported by the CBC, nearly a million of the (then) 2.4 million applications in the backlog are from India. Other countries, including Iran, have also been disproportionately affected.

As an advocate, I can do little to help clients stuck in the backlog. It is virtually impossible to contact IRCC by telephone; I don’t even try. Webforms take up to two months for responses, which often say no more than ‘your application is in process.’ For clients in Canada, I can direct them to their Member of Parliament, but this option is unavailable to my overseas clients.

I must place my hope on the 1,250 new employees that IRCC will hire. If you become one of them, please know you will carry the hopes and dreams of thousands of people.