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Immigration department aims to provide more reliable processing times

Immigration Canada has adopted a new way to calculate application processing times to give people a better idea of how long their case may take so they can better plan their move.

Instead of using time estimates from applications processed in the recent past, officials will now project processing times based on existing backlogs and annual admission targets.

“Improving the service experience of IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) clients has been a significant point of focus for my department in recent years,” said Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen. “This update is an important one to ensure our immigration processing times are as accurate as possible.”

According to the department, until August, all processing times posted of its website were “historical” and showed how long it took for 80 per cent of the applications in a particular immigration stream to be dealt with in the previous year.

“While historical processing times can be accurate for applications already in progress, they are a lagging indicator and are not always representative of the expected processing times for most new applications received today,” said department spokesperson Beatrice Fenelon.

“The processing times for some permanent resident applications will now be projected, and will tell clients how long we expect most applications to take under normal circumstances if they apply today.”

The improved time calculation will apply to sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents, regular provincial nominee programs, Quebec skilled workers, start-up visa applicants, as well as humanitarian and compassionate cases.

Fenelon said the new methodology will take into consideration the number of current applications in the queue and the volume of annual admissions approved by parliament under its multi-year immigration targets.

For instance, processing time for sponsorship of parents and grandparents is between 20 to 24 months under the new calculations, lower than previous years.

As of June, there were 26,000 parents and grandparents in the queue, down from the peak of 167,000 in 2011, when some applicants had to wait years to get a decision.