September 14, 2022

IRCC to Move PR Applications Fully Online

Posted by Athena Portokalidis - Bellissimo Law Group PC

On 1 September 2022, the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is quickly transitioning to 100% digital applications for most permanent residence programs starting 23 September 2022 [1]. Many remaining permanent resident programs are set to make the transition to purely digital applications in October 2022, including permanent residence applications based on humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) grounds [2]. IRCC hopes that the shift to processing most permanent resident applications digitally will assist in reducing processing times, in addition to the 1,250 new employees that have been hired to cut down on the processing backlog and increase capacity [3]. Further, IRCC has committed to including more application types in the online application status tracker and to improving the online processing times tool [4].

Also announced, IRCC will be exempting permanent and temporary residence applicants already in Canada who meet certain criteria from the immigration medical examination requirement and will continue to offer virtual interviews to spousal sponsorship applicants [5].

While it is certainly promising that IRCC is aware of and taking steps toward modernizing the application process across the board, as recently as June 2022, the backlog still remains, as over 2.4 million applications were reported to still be in process with widely ranging experiences between applicants [6]. Hopefully, this transition works as intended and provides much-needed relief to applicants who remain waiting, and smoother processing moving forward to those who have yet to apply.