The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is considering “Aggressive Action” to decrease its backlog of visitor visa applications.
This includes waiving certain eligibility requirements for almost half a million visitor visas under processing.
The Globe And Mail obtained an internal IRCC memo from December 2022 which discusses two options to reduce the number of visitor visa applications.
According to the memo, IRCC is concerned that the stockpiling is damaging “public trust” in the department.
By February, IRCC hopes to significantly reduce or eliminate its backlog of visitor visa applications.
Two Options Under Consideration As Per IRCC Memo
- The IRCC would process an estimated 195,000 applications in bulk in the first instance.
- For around 450,000 applications, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser would relax certain eligibility requirements.
Furthermore, according to one of The Globe And Mail sources, immigration authorities will no longer analyze whether visitors have the sufficient funds to stay in Canada.
Also, foreign nationals would not have to prove that they will depart Canada after expiry of their visa.
This will be a temporary stock reduction measure, and the final policy may change from what is recommended in the memo.
The memo also emphasized on the potential of keeping these measures secret and stated that none of the measures would have to be made public.
However, two internal sources within IRCC told The Globe And Mail, that the government had opted for the second option and an announcement could be made within days.
Immigration Minister said at a news conference in December, “We’re actually removing cases from our system faster than they’re coming in, which gives me confidence that we’re getting back on track.”
Advantages & Disadvantages outlined in the memo
On the positive side, it would definitely help in reducing the backlog, resulting in faster processing of incoming files.
However, the memo also indicate that not all applications are “genuine tourists”.
So, this might result in around 8,600 asylum, commonly known as refugee, claims.
According to the memo, India and Nigeria are the two most common suppliers of TRV applications, and both nations are in the top 10 asylum applicants in Canada.
As a result, the rise in applications would subsequently put increased strain on all elements of the refugee system.
Furthermore, IRCC would grant eligibility for people with past denials and “derogatory material,” according to the memo.
According to the two immigration department insiders, this was a rushed move that would result in less “scrutiny” of the applications. They said that the approach had shocked several department employees.
The sources also said that this strategy will be ineffective in eliminating the backlog quickly since immigration officers would still need to complete admissibility checks on applications.
Source: THE GLOBE AND MAIL