Canadian Government Creates New Measures to Shorten Application Wait Times


In recent years, the significant application processing wait times for Canadian immigration programs have put prospective Canadians at a disadvantage and created  uncertainty for future immigrants.

This issue was clearly recognized by the Canadian Minister for Citizenship and Immigration, Chris Alexander, who has voiced his commitment to reducing wait times on a number of occasions, noting that his main goal for the portfolio in 2014 was “delivering better, faster service to immigrants and visitors to Canada.” The Minister expressed a clear understanding of the necessity to expedite the application process, stating that “we [the Canadian Government] have to move at the speed of business in our immigration system.”

Fortunately, after a variety of reforms to Canadian immigration programs were enacted, this goal has been realized, and the wait times for immigration program application processing have decreased significantly.

Due to reforms of the citizenship and immigration system, including the creation of new application processing centers and the elimination of applications submitted prior to February 2008, the number of backlogged applications has plummeted, resulting in an expedited immigration process and a substantial decrease in wait times for new applications. Newly established immigration programs, such as the Canadian Experience Class, for skilled workers with prior experience in Canada, have also contributed to the significantly faster processing times.

The still decreasing wait times prove to be advantageous for both the Canadian government and prospective Canadian immigrants. It makes Canada more competitive and attractive internationally, providing further impetus for immigrants to consider Canada. Individuals and families interested in immigrating to Canada reap the greatest benefit from the shrinking backlogs, which are now beginning to be processed in under a year in most cases. More efficient processees give immigrants faster access to Canada while decreasing uncertainty.Also, the new, faster processes provide greater consistency. Changes of conditions used to lead to lower rates of success, especially for unprocessed applicaitons that had been submitted prior to such changes. Shorter and more efficient applcation proceedings ensure that applications are assessed under the same regulatory regime.

While wait times have already decreased substantially, the Canadian government hopes to expedite the process even further.Chris Alexander noted that his goal is the establishment of a six month wait time for successful economic applicants. He hopes to achieve this goal by January of 2015. The creation of Bill C-24, The Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, which serves to reinforce government commitment to reducing backlogs and speeding up times, is clearly a step in the right direction and suggests a continuing decrease in wait times in the future.

FWCanada is a Montreal-based immigration law that provides professional legal services on Canadian immigration. For more updates and tips on Canadian immigration, visit  Don’t forget to like FWCanada on Facebook and follow the firm on Twitter.

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