Canada Reduced the Immigration Backlog – Weekly News Review January 23 – 29, 2023


A founding partner of Abramovich & Tchern and a skilled litigator, Lev focuses exclusively on immigration and refugee law. His immigration practice is focused on complex corporate and personal immigration and refugee law matters.
Canada’s backlogged immigration system

Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers provide this weekly Canadian news review to help you stay informed about changes, new laws and updates in immigration law. Our experienced lawyers offer clear insights into what these developments can mean for you as an individual or business. Follow us for more timely and accurate updates about Canada’s ever-changing immigration laws.

Canada reduced the immigration backlog to under two million

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that the immigration backlog for permanent residence, temporary residence permits and citizenship approvals in all IRCC inventories decreased to 1.9 million applications. IRCC has announced that 46.5% of all applications in the inventory exceeded the service standards, and they are committed to processing 20% of applications within the standard. Presently, 45% of applications for temporary residence – including those applying to study or work and 58% of permanent residency applications are backlogged. Furthermore, 28% of citizenship applications have exceeded the service standards.

Although the government has attributed this backlog to office closures due to COVID-19, economists and legal experts have argued that Ottawa itself was mainly responsible for creating this problem. As a result, many applicants started filing mandamus applications against IRCC in the Federal Court of Canada to speed up their applications. If you are one of those applicants, Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers can help you navigate the complex legal system and represent you in court. Our lawyers have experience handling immigration matters in many areas, including mandamus applications.

Canada had the highest influx of francophone immigrants in 2022

On January 13, 2023, IRCC proudly announced that Canada had achieved its 2022 goal of 4.4% French-speaking immigrants outside Quebec. This result showed that more than 16,300 people from around the world settled into Francophone minority communities across Canada. Since 2006, Canadian admissions of French-speaking immigrants have increased from 1.38% to 4.4%. This remarkable surge in numbers marks the biggest influx on record and brings a host of new cultural vibrancy and linguistic diversity that greatly benefits local economies across Canada.

As the first official language in Canada, French is spoken by an increasingly larger number of citizens. However, its representation decreased from 22.2% in 2016 to 21.4% in 2021. Despite this decline, Quebec, British Columbia, and Yukon saw a steady rise in their populations that primarily use French as their primary language at home. All remaining provinces and territories experienced a decrease instead. To further its commitment to official languages, the Government of Canada has allocated nearly $500 million over 5 years under the Action Plan for Official Languages 2018-2023. This includes a sizable chunk of $40.7 million designated explicitly for activities that promote immigration in French-speaking territories and communities across Canada.

Ontario invited candidates under four streams of OINP in one week

Last week, the Government of Ontario held four new draws under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP). On January 24, 2023, the province invited candidates under the Employer Job Offer: International Student (EJO IS) and Employer Job Offer: Foreign Worker streams, issuing 620 and 2 invitations to apply (ITAs), respectively. In addition, on January 25, the OINP issued 692 ITAs to candidates under the Masters Graduate stream. Furthermore, Ontario held a new draw under the Entrepreneur Stream on January 27, 2023, and invited 10 business candidates. In 2023, Ontario issued invitations to 2,980 candidates under all streams of the OINP.

The OINP is a provincial program that allows prospective immigrants to apply for permanent residency in Canada. Ontario offers several streams under the OINP. Some of them are linked to Express Entry. Every OINP stream targets specific skills and experience. Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers can help you assess your eligibility and guide you through the complicated immigration process. Our experienced lawyers will work closely with you to ensure that your application meets all requirements for approval. With Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers, you can be sure that your immigration experience is as seamless and stress-free as possible.

Canadian passport offices have returned to pre-COVID processing times

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Karina Gould has announced that the passport processing backlog has been almost completely cleared, as 98 percent of applications in the backlog have been processed. Consequently, turnaround times in all passport offices are back to their usual pre-pandemic levels. According to Minister Gould’s office, Service Canada has issued over two million passports since April 2022, and it is projected that an additional one-and-a-half million will be processed before the end of this fiscal year. According to the Minister, Canada’s passport offices expect a yearly influx of three to five million applications in the upcoming years.

The government has established two delivery standards for passport applications in Canada: ten days for in-person applications and twenty days for mail or Service Canada Centre drop-offs. Criticism of the Liberals was rampant due to their inability to provide even essential services Canadians depend on, namely passport renewal. In fact, at one point, people were stuck waiting up to 40 workdays before receiving a new document. Such delays were unacceptable and exposed an obvious flaw in the government’s strategy for service delivery. The Government of Canada is committed to upholding service standards, mainly since a surge in applications for passports will soon take place. In 2013, Canada began issuing 10-year validity passports, some of which are up for renewal this summer.

British Columbia invited skilled candidates and entrepreneurs

On January 24, 2023, the Government of British Columbia issued new invitations under the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BCPNP) and invited qualified Skills Immigration and business candidates. Under the general draw of the BCPNP, the province invited 221 candidates. Additionally, British Columbia invited 31 early childhood educators (NOC 42202) and 18 healthcare workers.In the first draws for business candidates, the BCPNP invited up to ten entrepreneurs, five in the Base Category of the Entrepreneur Stream and five in the Entrepreneur Immigration – Regional Pilot category. In 2023, British Columbia issued 838 invitations to skilled workers and business candidates.

The BCPNP allows the province to nominate potential immigrants who can fulfill their labour market needs and promote economic prosperity. The program was designed to help ensure the region’s economy remains strong, healthy, and growing. In compliance with the 2021 Canada-British Columbia Immigration Agreement (CBCIA), the BCPNP is jointly run by both federal and provincial governments. Every year, a limited number of nominations are allocated to British Columbia by the Government of Canada. If you also want to get nominated for the BCPNP and make British Columbia your new home, Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers can help. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you with your immigration matters.

Manitoba invited new candidates under the MPNP streams

On January 26, 2023, Manitoba held the second draw under the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) of 2023. In round #166, Manitoba issued LAAs to 336 candidates, including 32 Express Entry candidates in the Skilled Workers in Manitoba and Skilled Workers Overseas streams and International Education category. Manitoba provides both an enhanced and a base immigration stream, the former being connected to Canada’s Express Entry System – which the federal government uses for handling permanent residence applications. This year, for example, MPNP invited 658 candidates, and 59 received invitations through the Express Entry system.

Manitoba is a leader among Canadian provinces, having welcomed more Ukrainian refugees per capita than any other province. With generous settlement programs to help them adjust and become comfortable in their new home, Manitoba has ensured that these newcomers can settle comfortably into their lives here. The Government of Manitoba has generously donated $800,000 in humanitarian aid and almost 300 soft body-armour vests to assist Ukrainians. Furthermore, the province has set up a Ukrainian Refugee Task Force guided by the Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization (MEMO) that provides housing placement assistance, job search guidance, healthcare and mental health services for those in need. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Manitoba invited 181 Ukrainian candidates in nine MPNP draws.

Sudbury considered the first RNIP applications of 2023

On January 26, the City of Greater Sudbury considered 24 candidates under the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP). The minimum score for this draw was 250 points, 70 points more than the previous one. Last year, the city invited 154 applicants in total. Since the program’s launch, Sudbury has recommended at least 249 candidates under the RNIP. To be eligible for the RNIP, applicants must have qualifying work experience or have graduated from a publicly funded post-secondary institution in the recommending community, meet language and educational, have enough settlement funds, intend to live in the community and meet community-specific requirements.

A report from the Conference Board of Canada reveals that immigration programs – such as the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) and RNIP – tailored towards bringing people to smaller cities and towns in Canada could result in higher economic output for reduced costs. Canada’s two innovative immigration programs, the AIP and the RNIP, were designed to promote immigration to its less populated areas. The employer-led AIP is a distinct effort that helps foreign candidates meet job postings that Canadian employers have difficulty filling with local workers.

Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers can help you and your family navigate complicated immigration issues. We understand that immigrating to a new country can be daunting, so we provide our clients with personalized service. Our immigration lawyers will provide the information and advice you need to ensure a successful immigration experience. Contact us today to find out more about our services and how we can help you.

Lev Abramovich

A founding partner of Abramovich & Tchern and a skilled litigator, Lev focuses exclusively on immigration and refugee law. His immigration practice is focused on complex corporate and personal immigration and refugee law matters.