Canadian immigration: Visa Processing Time Difference: The Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has offices all over the world where visas are processed. Often, one office is in charge of a certain part of the world and helps people from many different countries.
This is meant to help speed up working times, but the length of time it takes to process a visa varies from office to office.
Standards for service and working times
Depending on the type of entry, IRCC has different service standards. The IRCC sets a service standard for how long it should take to handle an application. For example, the service standard for all Express Entry applications accepted after July 2022 is six months, and the service standard for temporary resident visas is between 60 and 120 days.
The service standard and the real amount of time it takes IRCC to process applications are different. Backlog is a term for applications that haven’t been handled within the service standard for their program.
IRCC wants to handle at least 80% of all applications within the service standard.
Why do processing offices do things in different ways?
IRCC says that visa offices have different problems to deal with based on where they are in the world. On the IRCC FAQ page, it says that applications may be sent to different places so that they can be handled as quickly as possible.
The department says it may take longer to process an application if it is unclear or incomplete, and IRCC needs more information from the candidate. In this case, it could take longer based on how quickly and completely the applicant answers. It may also take longer to process an application if it is hard to verify the applicant’s details, which can also depend on where the applicant lives.
There are also other differences between regions. Allocating resources is a big reason why some places are better off than others.
Based on figures from 2022, only 2% of IRCC’s employees are based abroad, while more than 55% are at the agency’s national headquarters in Ottawa. This means that visa-handling offices outside of Canada have less space than those in Canada.
IRCC opened a new visa processing centre in the Philippines earlier this year. On May 4, Minister Fraser stated that the department is investing in a new processing centre in Islamabad, Pakistan.
When the office in Manilla opened, IRCC said that adding processing capacity helps to handle a large number of visa applications from all over the world and improves customer service, making it easier for more people to come to Canada.
The type of application accepted is another thing that can change how long it takes. It takes longer to handle some applications than others. For example, at the time of writing, the IRCC processing time tool shows that people outside of Canada who want to apply for a study pass will have to wait an average of seven weeks for their application to be processed. When you apply from inside Canada, it usually takes three weeks to get an answer.
On the other hand, the same tool says that it can take up to 26 months to apply for the Express Entry Federal Skilled Worker Program from outside of Canada. It is important to compare Express Entry Programs and immigrate to Canada.
How did the recent strike affect the time it took to do things?
From April 19 to May 3, more than 155,000 federal government workers went on strike because of the Public Service Alliance of Canada’s strike. During this time, IRCC said that both new and ongoing applications were likely to take longer to handle.
Immigration Minister Sean Fraser told reporters in Ottawa that he thinks around 100,000 applications that would have been handled but weren’t because of the strike. But he thinks it won’t take more than a few months to get back to the same level of service as before the plague. He says this is because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused a backlog of applications that reached 2.7 million.
In order to get back on track after the pandemic, IRCC made more digital applications and added more than 1,000 people. Before the latest work stoppage, the minister told reporters that IRCC had gotten back to the level of service it had before the pandemic for permanent residence, family reunification, and government economic streams through the Express Entry system. Service levels for study and work permits were “within one or two days” of what they were before the pandemic.
The minister said that temporary resident visas, like tourist visas, were the only ones where there was still a big backlog. Before the problem, he says, the department was on track to meet the 30-day service standard again this summer.
- IRCC offices handle visas differently
- Resource Allocation Challenges
- Addressing Pandemic Backlog
- Application Transmission for Speed
- Varying Processing Times