Minister Miller’s Response to Permanent Residence Application Processing

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) welcomes the Office of the Auditor General’s report on the processing of applications for Permanent Residence, which was conducted in 2022. This audit checked the processing methods and efforts to work in backlogs, shedding light on critical aspects of Canada’s immigration policies and procedures.

Canada recognizes the significance of immigration for its long-term success and the need for efficient immigration systems. In recent years, IRCC has prioritized improving processing times and client service to have a better immigration system. The department’s goal is to process 80% of all applications within service standards. Starting in August 2022, IRCC began publishing monthly data to inform the public about ongoing initiatives to reduce application backlogs.

As of August 31 this year, Canada has welcomed 339,000 permanent residents, an increase from the 310,000 welcomed during the same period in 2022. Since the audit, IRCC has been actively reducing backlogs by digitizing applications, expanding its workforce, and utilizing automation technologies to enhance processing capacity and efficiency.

Many areas within the department are now meeting or nearing service standards. For instance, as of September 2023, over 80% of federal high-skilled applications received since July 2022 have been processed within service standards. Also, more than 80% of spouses, partners, and children (except for Quebec) applications received since April 2022 have been processed within service standards. IRCC remains committed to evaluating and optimizing its use of technology to streamline application processing.

IRCC is set to launch the online Permanent Residence Portal to private refugee sponsor groups and some government-assisted refugee referral partners in the coming fall. This will offer a secure and convenient means for these groups to submit their applications and referrals, directly addressing some of the concerns raised in the report.

Despite the challenges faced in recent years, IRCC has made amazing progress. The department acknowledges the dedication of its employees, who play a great role in application processing. The Auditor General’s report serves as a reminder of the responsibility to deliver on promises and ensure that Canada remains a welcoming and inclusive destination for those seeking to build a new life.