By Uglobal Staff
Canada has revised its targets under its freshly announced Immigration Levels Plan for 2022-2024, hoping to see as many as 451,000 permanent residents in a year as the country banks on the global pandemic to dissipate. Migration industry professionals, however, caution against celebrating the Canadian government’s latest move.
Immigration lawyer Marc-Andre Seguin, who is a partner at Exeo Attorneys, pointed out that the backlog of pending applications at the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, also known as the IRCC, remains sky high and no one could say for sure whether the government would be able to even achieve its targets since the global COVID-19 still remains very much in play.
“There isn't much to celebrate. The backlog that has been accumulating at IRCC since the beginning of the pandemic is scandalous and unjustifiable,” Seguin said.
“We welcome that the federal authorities is aiming for a higher target, but higher targets have done little so far to improve the situation for the tens of thousands of people whose applications have been at a standstill for years.”
New targets may not benefit Express Entry
Initially, the country was hoping to get at least 411,000 permanent residents in 2022, but this target has now been increased to 432,000. For the year 2023, the target is even higher (447,055) while for 2024, it is 451,000.
In remarks to the Canadian media, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser hinted that the focus would continue to be on foreigners who were already in the country.
"Our focus remains on supporting our economic resurgence through increased retention of newcomers in regions with real economic, labor and demographic challenges," Fraser said.
Foreigners who opt for the economic class pathways usually come under the Express Entry, the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and the Temporary to Permanent Residence (TR2PR) streams. But since the focus seems to be on foreigners who are already in Canada, the new levels plan might see a temporary reduction in Express Entry admissions while the TR2PR applicants are given preference. Canada is also expected to prioritize the resettlement of 40,000 Afghan refugees.
Expect slower processing times
Since the focus of the new Canadian government plan seems to be on foreign skilled workers, family reunification and refugee resettlement, while pundits predict Express Entry admission levels would normalize as late as 2024, many prospective applicants waiting outside of Canada wonder if they should wait out for the backlog to clear first before applying. Seguin advised to apply but again cautioned that waiting times could be much longer than expected.
“You can't make progress on an application you did not file. If a program fits your profile, it is worthy to consider it. However, at this time it is prudent to assume that processing times will be long and, where possible, to contemplate a bridge temporary status if you need to come to Canada faster,” he said.
“While permanent residency applications are incredibly slow to be finalized, some temporary residency solutions - namely some work permits - can be adjudicated faster.”
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