How can Canada avoid major immigration backlogs in the future || VO Visas?
Opinion: Here are 6 tips to get your Canadian immigration business back on track.
Earlier this month, the Canadian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM) began examining application processing times and processing delays for IRCC applications.
The purpose of the ICMM is to monitor the immigration system and publish studies to provide recommendations for improvement. CIMM invited me to Ottawa for this study, which I completed on May 5th. I would like to use this article as an opportunity to explain my proposal.
The order book has doubled to 2.1 million since the pandemic began. This includes applicants for permanent residence, temporary residence, and citizenship. Needless to say, the backlog is hurting Canada’s economy, tearing families apart, and reducing Canada’s ability to provide humanitarian assistance to those in need.
There is no doubt that the pandemic is the main cause of the delay. At the start of the pandemic, Canadian government employees were forced to work remotely, limiting their ability to process applications. However, the pandemic is not the only reason for the delay, at least the pandemic cannot explain why
Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have had such poor customer service for more than two years.
I believe the following six steps can help improve the health of your Canadian immigration business.
1) Treat applicants with greater respect
To prevent the backlog from spiraling out of control again in the future, the first step Canada must take is to be more respectful of all immigration applicants. When we talk about the backlog, we often think about the number of files in the queue and sometimes we forget about the number of lives that are negatively affected.
A more people-centered approach to our immigration system is a necessary step toward progress. There is no point in IRCC not responding to customer requests for months or even years. The lack of urgency in providing updates also explains the lack of urgency in processing requests.
For whatever reason, although IRCC has legal authority to process applications, we do not believe that immigration applicants are qualified enough to receive quality customer service. It is only fair that applicants receive a premium service because they must pay IRCC to process their documents. Imagine how upset you would be if you paid the postal company for a package, only to find out that it hasn’t been delivered and none of your calls or emails have been answered.
Just as companies put their customers first and put themselves at the center of everything they do, so should IRCC. Every decision a department makes should be focused on providing the best possible customer experience.
2) Align intake with a processing capacity
The second step is for Canada to better match its intake with its processing capacity. We already do this through several programs, such as the IRCC Economy Class Pilot Program, the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP), the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), and more. The federal and state governments work within the allocations for a given program and ensure that they do not request more applications than they can process within the allocations. It’s not a perfect model and often leads to disappointment, just like PGP, but at the same time, it helps us limit the possibility of excessive processing times.
IRCC made several big mistakes early in the pandemic, which made the backlog even worse. He will continue to pull requests even when the processing power is down, which means he will have a big mountain to climb once the processing power is back to normal.
For example, Express Entry, launched in 2015, avoids delays by inviting only candidates IRCC wants to process. Nonetheless, we saw our Express Entry backlog skyrocket as IRCC invited candidates throughout 2020 before realizing it needed to introduce two major breaks in December 2020 and September 2021 to achieve it’s Express Entry — Manage inventory. This could have been avoided entirely if IRCC had simply reduced its Express Entry invitations in 2020 until operations returned to normal.
Unfortunately, IRCC made the same mistake in 2021, first by continuing to issue a flood of Express Entry invitations and second by receiving an additional 90,000 applications under the Temporary Residency (“TR2PR”) program. Immigration Service Level 2022–2024, it will now take IRCC another two years to catch up with all of these requirements before reinstating its economy class schedule by 2024. Going forward, IRCC should be more cautious and ensure you can handle incoming requests promptly.
3) Expedite technological transformation
The third step is for Canada to accelerate the much-needed technological transformation of its immigration system. Much of the immigration system is still paper-based, which slows things down. It also makes it difficult for employees to process requests remotely and transfer files to other offices. The IRCC should aim to make all applications available online shortly, while also providing accommodation for people with disabilities, the elderly, and others who may need to submit paper applications. Technology is an important issue, it represents an advantage for the immigration system and can streamline many processes. At some point, we should strive to complete as many immigration processes online as possible, such as
4) Be more transparent
The fourth is that Canada is making immigration policies and operations more transparent. For most of the pandemic, the IRCC has kept us in the dark, rather than fulfilling its obligation to update the public on its operations and political priorities. For example, between December 2020 and April 2022, Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) candidates were informed when they would be invited back into Express Entry. The same is being done for Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates between September 2021 and April 2022. Going forward, IRCC should provide regular, preferably monthly, public updates outlining its current policy priorities and backlogs. This allows everyone involved, including applicants themselves, employers, tertiary institutions, etc., to plan accordingly.
5) Conduct an independent study
The fifth step is to hold Canada more responsible for the failure of its immigration system during the pandemic. An independent study should be commissioned to assess what IRCC has done right, wrong, and could have done better. While the pandemic is a valid excuse, it’s not the only explanation for the surge in backlogs over the past two years.
An independent study could shed light on the political and operational reasons for the delay and make recommendations to ensure mistakes are not repeated. Greater accountability will also help restore confidence in Canada’s immigration system. Many stakeholders have had bad experiences during the pandemic. Damaged the reputation of our immigration system. Showing the public that the Canadian government is capable of recognizing and correcting its mistakes can lead to more applicants viewing Canada in a positive light.
6) Form a National Advisory Council on Immigration
Sixth, the Canadian government needs to work more closely with Canadian immigration experts. Canada has a huge immigration ecosystem filled with professionals from many different industries, including law, business, housing, research, academia, government, tertiary institutions, and more. Still, there has been little meaningful immigration advice during the pandemic, with avoidable consequences.
Forming the National Advisory Council on Immigration (NACI) would be a positive move to use all this experience to help Canada make the best immigration decisions. These types of expert committees exist in other Canadian government agencies. Establishing immigration issues will be of great benefit to IRCC.
Looking ahead, we should be optimistic that Canada’s immigration system will eventually recover. Immigration is too important to Canada’s prosperity for the system to remain chaotic for long.
Canada is investing in technology, in addition to hiring more IRCC staff and increasing public scrutiny from the media, ICMM, employers, academics, and the applicants themselves, hopefully making Canada a better immigration service for applicants for years to come.