Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will revamp how they process immigration applications as the government prepares for an immigration surge post-pandemic.
Canada is still committed to processing newcomer and visitor applications.
A complete overhaul of how Canada processes immigration applications is in the works as the government braces for post-pandemic demand for migration to Canada.
Aging computer systems, paper applications and in-person interviews are among the things that must be adapted for the “new normal” after COVID-19, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said in a tender posted to the government’s procurement website and marked “urgent.”
“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,” the tender request says.
Immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are exempt from travel restrictions are now able to obtain temporary resident visas (TRVs) or electronic travel authorizations (eTA).
However, many people remain unable to come to Canada, including refugees and applicants who were approved for permanent residence after March 16, 2020.
Since the travel restrictions were put in place, IRCC has carried out program-specific Express Entry draws to people who are more likely to already be in Canada. This include Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) or Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates.
In addition to slowed immigration operations, IRCC is also facing challenges while maintaining physical distancing protocols that make it difficult to process many applications. This is especially true for applications that require in-person interviews or documents that candidates have found difficult to obtain.
At least one virtual citizenship ceremony has already been held, for a researcher awarded a major grant to study the impact of the pandemic on supply chains, but the tender seeks guidance on more digital solutions for those and for traditional in-person interviews.
The government had planned to welcome over a million new immigrants by the end of 2022. Although the immigration levels have slowed in 2020, Canada still views immigration as vital to its economy, according to immigration minister Marco Mendicino.
“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.”— immigration minister says.
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