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IRCC Introduces New Method for Calculating Processing Times for Some Applications




Understanding the Change

Traditionally, IRCC has calculated processing times based on historical data, considering how long it took to process 80% of applications in the past 6 months for permanent residence programs, and 8 or 16 weeks for temporary residence programs. However, this backward-looking approach often left applicants in the dark about the current status and expected wait times for their applications.


The new method introduced by IRCC adopts a forward-looking approach. It estimates processing times based on the total number of applications in the queue and the department’s capacity to process these applications. This method takes into account various factors such as admission spaces within the annual Immigration Levels Plan, processing capacity, and seasonal changes in application types.


Benefits of the New Method

The forward-looking processing times are designed to provide applicants with a more accurate prediction of how long it will take to process their applications. This is particularly beneficial for those applying to high-volume immigration programs, including:

  • Canadian Experience Class (Express Entry)

  • Provincial Nominees Program (Express Entry and non-Express Entry)

  • Federal Skilled Workers (Express Entry)

  • Quebec Skilled Workers

  • Citizenship grants

  • Citizenship certificate (proof of citizenship)

  • Spousal or common-law partner living inside Canada

  • Spousal, common-law, or conjugal partner living outside Canada

  • Parents or grandparents


Impact on Applicants

Applicants who have already submitted their applications are advised not to reapply, as they are closer to the front of the queue under the new system. The updated service standards, which are the reasonable time frames that IRCC deems for issuing a final decision on an application, can be expected by the end of the year. These standards vary depending on the type of application, with spousal sponsorship applications having a service standard of 12 months, while an Express Entry program application should take no more than six months.


Looking Ahead

This update in processing times calculation is one of IRCC’s initial steps in addressing recommendations from a report by the Office of the Auditor General last October. The report highlighted the need for online information on processing times for all permanent residence applications, considering the volume and age of applications already in inventory.

The new method is a welcome change for many in the immigration community, offering a glimpse into a more efficient and transparent future for Canada’s immigration system. As IRCC continues to refine its processes, applicants can look forward to more updates and improvements in the service standards and overall application experience.

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