Canada to Introduce New System For Immigration Applications to Be Processed More Quickly

Government Pledges $428.9 Million to Help Create the New Platform

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically increasing processing times for immigration applications, the federal government is in the process of creating a new digital platform to help expedite the process.

The new system is expected to launch in 2023 and will improve application processing and increase support for applicants.

The federal government has pledged $428.9 million for the project over the next five years in the 2021 federal budget. The funds will go towards creating the new platform and gradually replacing the case management system currently being used to process applications.

According to Alexander Cohen, spokesperson for Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino, this initiative is a part of the government’s plan to shift towards digital platforms.

“(This new) platform will ensure that our immigration system can efficiently handle the increasing number of cases,” he said. “It will reduce the use of paper applications and be simpler and easier for applicants.”

A new updated system is warranted, as Cohen confirmed that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) intake of applications has significantly increased over the past several years.

“There are just more applications than ever before and so we’re only going to process as many applications as there are spaces for in the (immigration) plan,” said Cohen, adding that COVID-19 restrictions have made it more difficult for immigration officers to process paper-based applications.

Cohen explained that the main challenge with processing applications during the pandemic is that officers would have to travel to a central receiving location to pick up the applications or find a way to get them mailed securely to their homes.

There are currently around 120 Canadian immigration programs, and almost half of them require paper-based applications.

The new platform will not launch for another two years. However, IRCC has launched an online application portal that allows newcomers to apply online for permanent residency.

This portal is currently only available to select applicants in seven programs. However, it will eventually expand to all permanent residency programs.