The latest data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) shows that the number of applications on the list has increased since April.
As of May 31, there were 2,248,000 applications in inventory across all industries. This is higher than the 2,006,000 measured on April 30.
The number of applications (not meeting service standards) also increased from just over 800,000 to 820,000.
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The inventory includes those applications that have been sent to IRCC for a decision, but not yet finalized. In 2022, IRCC closed more than 5.2 million applications.
The increase in the backlog of applications can be partially explained by work disruptions caused by the Public Service Alliance of Canada strike from April 19 to May 1. After the strike was resolved, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said that during the entire outage IRCC was unable to process about 100,000 applications normally.
In addition, the number of applications for visitor visas, study and work permits usually increases during the summer months.
IRCC aims to process 80% of all requests according to service standards. The service standard is the time it takes the department to process the request. This can vary depending on the type and complexity of the application.
For example, IRCC plans to process all permanent resident (PR) applications through Express Entry within six months and all family sponsorship applications within 12 months. Service standards for temporary residence permits vary between 60 and 120 days, depending on whether the permit is issued for work or study.
An application that does not receive a final decision within the expected time frame is considered overdue. IRCC congestion forecasts
Figures up to 31 May show that of the 640,000 permanent residence applications on the list, 52% (332,000) were processed to the service standard and 48% (308,000) were not.
The total number of PR applications for May is only slightly higher, at 8,000, compared to the April 30 data, which showed 632,000 permanent resident applications. In addition, the number of PR applications decreased by 51 percent or 322,000 on April 30.
The data also shows that the number of PR requests was lower than expected. IRCC estimates that there would be a backlog of 20% of all PR applications for the Federal High-Specialty Program (Express Entry programs) in May 2023, but the actual percentage is 15%. The number of applications for spouses and partners of Canadian citizens and permanent residents is also lower than expected, at 20 percent. This is three percentage points less than the April data.
However, the number of applicants to the Provincial Nominee Program (via Express Entry) is slightly higher than the anticipated age of 28 and currently stands at 30 percent.
According to the latest data, there are 308,000 applications for citizen assistance in the inventory. Of these, 73% or 225,000 met service standards and 27% did not. This is down from April 30, when there were 294,000 citizenship applications on the list, of which 75% were processed according to service standards.
The number of processed citizenship applications is slightly lower than IRCC projected, at 23 percent instead of the projected 24 percent.
Temporary visas make up the majority of applications on the list. These include temporary residence permits (visitors) as well as study and work permits.
In the period from April 30 to May 31, the number of requests for temporary housing increased from 1,080,000 to 1.3 million. Of these, 871,000 were processed according to service standards and 429,000 were not.
IRCC exceeded the projected number of study permits processed in May. The department estimated that it would process 15% of study permit applications within service standards, but actually processed 17%.
Temporary residence permits were issued faster in May than in April, from 50% to 45%, but still below the forecast of 42%.
Work permits were not processed at the pace of 24 business days anticipated for May. In contrast, 27% of requests did not meet service standards. That’s up from 22 percent in April.
IRCC notes that about 72 percent of work permits on the May list are from the Canada-Ukraine Emergency Eligibility to Travel (CUAET) program. CUAET allows resettled Ukrainians to enter Canada as visitors if they apply for a free work permit.
According to the latest data from CUAET, IRCC received 1,059,154 applications for the program between March 2022 and June 2, 2023.