Canada has processed an all-time high of 4.8 million visa applications in 2022, nearly twice the 2.5 million processed during the same period last year, according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
On a monthly basis, Canada is now processing more visitor visa applications reducing its pandemic backlog by nearly half-a-million applications in just four months.
In November alone, over 260,000 visitor visas were processed, in contrast to the 180,000 applications that were processed in 2019 at the same time.
“Our government has reduced its pandemic backlogs by nearly half a million, while also processing a record-breaking number of immigration applications this year. Our actions are ensuring that we can continue to welcome and support newcomers who come to Canada to work, study, visit, or settle here,” Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, said in a statement.
The 4.8 million applications include 670,000 study permits, 700,000 work permits, and hundreds of thousands of visitor visas, according to IRCC data.
The largest number of applications were processed under the temporary residence category with over 670,000 study permits cleared by November 30, compared to more than 500,000 during the same time period last year.
Most new study permits are now being processed within the 60-day service standard, the IRCC informed.
Close to 700,000 work permits were processed by November 30, compared to about 223,000 during the same period in 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Canada welcomed a record-breaking 405,000 new permanent residents in 2021, and with this development, it remains on track to reach its target of more than 431,000 new permanent residents.
Also, permanent residents can now expect shorter wait times when renewing their permanent resident cards as IRCC has reduced its pandemic backlog of applications for card renewals by 99 per cent.
Canada welcomed approximately 251,000 new citizens from April to November, as a result of which more than 70 per cent of applications in the citizenship inventory are now within service standards.
To address acute labour shortage, Canada unveiled its ambitious immigration plan last month to welcome half-a-million immigrants each year by 2025.
As of December 2, Canada’s immigration backlog came down to just over 2.2 million.
IRCC says it wants to have a less than 50 per cent backlog across all lines of business by the end of March 2023.
To achieve this, the Canadian citizenship body began transition towards 100 per cent digital applications for most permanent resident programs on September 23.
It also hopes to make all citizenship applications digital by the end of this year, including those for minors under 18.