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ImmigrateCanada is recovering from huge immigration backlog

Canada is recovering from huge immigration backlog

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) released its recent immigration inventory data on February 28. According to that, Canada has a backlog of 231,187 applicants in the Economic Class Immigration categories.

Canada is rapidly reducing its immigration backlog. In the last two and a half months, the country has processed more skilled work visas than it did in the entire year of 2021.

In February itself, the number of applicants increased by 614 as the data given at the beginning of February 2022 shows that the Economic Class inventory stood at 230,573 applicants. While it may appear that little progress was achieved last month, a deeper examination reveals that gains are being made, particularly in the inventories for the Canadian Experience Class and the Federal Skilled Worker Program.

TR2PR and Base PNP backlog increased

Since the end of October, the backlog of Economic Class applicants has decreased by 24,400. However, increases in other Economic Class pathways delayed the overall improvements of Economic Class. Non-Express Entry PNP streams and the Temporary Residence to Permanent Residence (TR2PR) program saw some gains during the last few months.

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In IRCC’s inventory, the number of base Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) candidates increased by 4,685. Because base PNPs are paper-based, processing applicants takes longer than enhanced PNP streams, which are linked with Express Entry and hence have faster processing times because applications are submitted online.

The TR2PR program has been closed to applicants since November. Even then, the inventory shows that between the middle of December 2021 and the end of February 2022, TR2PR applications saw an increase of 14,153 people. IRCC also explains the reason behind this massive surge in enrollment even after the program has ended. The TR2PR program applications have only recently been counted in the department’s inventory as they have just lately begun to assess these applications.

  Persons (Oct.27) Persons (Dec.15) Persons (Feb.1) Persons (Feb.28)
Economic Class Applications 255,587 234,770 230,573 231,187


Express-Entry inventory shows improvements

With a decrease of 23,748 people since December, Express Entry has seen the most improvement among all economic class pathways. In December, the Express Entry inventory was at 119,389 applicants, but it had dropped to 95,641 people by the end of February. The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) inventory fell by 3,051 people in February, while the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) inventory dropped by 4,314 applicants during the same period.

Future immigrants keep a close eye on these figures, as all Express Entry draws have been halted except for PNP candidates. Even though the IRCC website still claims that the standard processing time of applications is six months, the backlog of applications has pushed processing times considerably above the six-month threshold.

IRCC has earlier mentioned the reason behind their decision to pause the CEC and FSWP invitations. The department stated that it aims to reduce inventory to a level enough to meet its processing standards and then resume Express Entry draws for applicants in other programs.

Drop in CEC and FSWP applications

As per the recent data, the CEC and FSWP applications have reduced between December 15, 2021, and February 28, 2022. The number of CEC candidates awaiting a decision on their application has reduced by 12,587, and FSWP applications have decreased by 9,092. This indicates that IRCC handled more FSWP applications in two and a half months than it did in the entire year of 2021. IRCC handled roughly 600 FSWP applicants each month in the second half of 2021. However, current numbers imply an almost eight-fold rise in the number of FSWP candidates processed per month now.

Last year, IRCC slowed FSWP processing to convert as many in-Canada immigration applicants as possible to permanent resident status, mainly through the CEC. The reason for this is the belief of IRCC that using this method would help it meet its objective of landing over 400,000 immigrants by 2021. They eventually achieved this and broke Canada’s annual immigration record in 2021.

If IRCC keeps processing at its current pace, the CEC backlog will be gone by the summer, and the FSWP backlog will be over by the end of the year.

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser stated in a discussion on Canadian immigration in February that Express Entry draws for skilled workers will resume in the “near future.” However, no specific date has been given yet. He also said that IRCC would use its $85 million budget to reduce processing times which was made worse by the pandemic.

Overall Economic Class backlog

The total Canadian immigration backlog, which includes permanent residence, temporary residence, citizenship, and visitors, reached around 1.8 million in December. IRCC’s application inventory has risen as it tries to administer the immigration system in a difficult operational environment during the pandemic. There is no specific data on the current application inventory for all immigration or travel pathways. IRCC has released the backlog data only for Economic Class categories.

Immigration category Applications as of Dec. 15, 2021 Applications as of Feb. 28, 2022
Agri-Food Pilot Program 747 653
Atlantic Immigration Pilot Programs 2,998 2,577
Canadian Experience Class (EE) 24,675 12,088
Canadian Experience Class (No EE) 55 84
Caring For Children Program 12,539 16,316
Federal Self Employed 4,999 5,181
Federal Skilled Workers (C-50) 223 197
Federal Skilled Workers (EE) 54,529 45,437
Federal Skilled Workers (Pre C-50) 24 23
High Medical Needs Program 29 15
Live-in Caregiver Program 1,780 1,328
Provincial/Territorial Nominees (EE) 39,325 37,484
Provincial/Territorial Nominees (No EE) 27,421 32,106
Quebec Entrepreneur 462 416
Quebec Investor 14,610 13,845
Quebec Self Employed 85 89
Quebec Skilled Workers 27,048 26,217
Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot 992 897
Skilled Trades (EE) 805 632
Skilled Trades (No EE) 9 3
Start-up Business 1,264 1,295
TR to PR 20,151 34,304
Total Economic Class 234,770 231,187


According to its revised Immigration Levels Plan 2022-2024, Canada expects to welcome around 432,000 new immigrants this year and over 450,000 new immigrants by 2024. Higher immigration targets, together with IRCC’s modernization efforts, should gradually reduce the immigration backlog from the highs witnessed during the pandemic.

Canadian Visa News
Canadian Visa News
Canadian Visa News is the immigration news network that keeps you updated with all the immigration updates. We are always connected to the Canadian immigration policies, visa updates, and all the official immigration sources.

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