OTTAWA, Aug. 13, 2018 /CNW/ - Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has taken great strides towards improving its clients' service experience. A reduction in backlogs and processing times is a cornerstone of that work.
Today the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, highlighted some of the substantial improvements that IRCC has made over the past year.
IRCC has been able to reduce backlogs significantly and make family reunification a priority, thanks to a historic multi-year immigration levels plan. For example, the Live-In Caregiver Program (LCP) inventory was reduced from a high of 62,000 in May 2014, to less than 12,000 by April 2018. We are on track to meet our 2017 commitment to process at least 80% of the remaining LCP backlog by the end of 2018, and are processing new LCP permanent residence applications within 12 months.
IRCC also recently began using an improved method to estimate processing times for some new permanent residence applications.
In addition, we reduced the spousal sponsorship inventory from a high of 75,000 to 15,000 as of December 31, 2017, and are processing new spousal sponsorship applications within 12 months. To help spouses further, we extended the Open Work Permit Pilot for spousal sponsorship applicants and simplified the guides and checklists.
We also made changes to the Citizenship Act that give more flexibility to citizenship applicants to meet the requirements for Canadian citizenship and encourage more immigrants to take the path to citizenship.
This year we also helped workers and students. In June we celebrated the successful first year of the Global Skills Strategy, which has supported Canada's economy and benefited 10,000 highly skilled workers and more than 100 employers. We also launched the Student Direct Stream to help students from China, India, the Philippines and Vietnam get their study permits faster.
Other substantial improvements include:
In the next 12 months, IRCC is planning improvements to offer clients more self-service options online. New initiatives will be implemented, such as expansion of online applications and adding new functionalities to clients' online accounts. We will continue to improve how we communicate anticipated processing times, so they make more sense to clients.
As we consider these improvements, we continue to actively listen to our clients and are approaching these changes with their comments and concerns in mind.