IRCC Seeking Bids to Help Modernize Aging Computer Systems, Applications, and Interviews
In anticipation of the loosening of travel restrictions post COVID-19, the federal government is planning to revamp and modernize Canada’s immigration system to help respond to an expected surge in applications.
“When travel restrictions begin to ease, a significant surge of applications and support requirements is anticipated, putting tremendous demand on our global operations and supporting branches,” stated a tender request published on the government’s procurement website.
The purpose of the tender request is to solicit bids from vendors that can help Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) fulfill its plan to modernize the immigration application process.
According to the request, the main issues that will be addressed include aging computer systems, paper applications, and in-person interviews.
“IRCC needs to act quickly to develop (i) updated and new strategies, and (ii) processes and digital systems to cope with the rapid change it is undergoing.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, immigration operations in Canada have been significantly affected. Besides the travel restrictions barring many immigrants and refugees from entering Canada, the government has closed or significantly scaled back immigration operations. This includes in-person interviews, the collection of biometrics, along with the closure of international visa centers.
Despite the travel restrictions in place since March, IRCC has been allowing certain individuals to enter Canada or apply for permanent residency. This includes:
“In the face of so many challenges, IRCC has made great efforts to adapt, for instance, by prioritizing applications from Canadians returning to Canada, vulnerable people and people who perform or support essential services,” said IRCC spokesperson Nancy Caron in an email to the Canadian Press.
“We are processing those as quickly as possible.”
But with things starting to slowly reopen and travel restrictions loosening, Canada is expecting an influx of applications that will be difficult to process in a timely manner without implementing a new, more modern system.
The Ramifications Of Maintaining Travel Restrictions
It’s important to remember that the Liberal government had previously pledged to welcome as many as 371,000 new permanent residents in 2020. But now, with these plans up in the air due to the global pandemic, it’s uncertain what kind of lasting effect reduced immigration could have.
One recent report from RBC Economics found that a reduction in immigration levels due to COVID-19 could have a detrimental impact on Canada’s economy as it’s estimated that Canada would welcome 170,000 fewer permanent residents than planned if the travel restrictions are extended to the end of the summer.
Hopefully though, with fewer COVID-19 cases being reported every day, along with the government’s plans to improve the application process and modernize Canada’s immigration system, Canada will soon get back on track to welcoming more newcomers and restoring immigration levels.