September 1, 2022 – Today, IRCC Minister Sean Fraser while visiting an IRCC application processing center in New Waterford, Nova Scotia announced new online immigration services to help applicants have a better user experience and reduce backlogs.
The minister made below listed 4 announcements:
1. Steps To Reduce IRCC Wait Times
IRCC will exempt permanent and temporary resident applicants already in Canada from the immigration medical examination (IME) who meet certain requirements. It will help increase processing capacity and address the backlogs, in addition to previously announced measures last week.
This exemption from IME will help in saving time and money as well as reducing wait times. To put in perspective, this will help roughly 180,000 applicants in Canada.
Minister again emphasized that they have now returned to the pre-pandemic service standard of 12 months for all new spousal sponsorship applications. IRCC welcomed more than 69,000 spouses, partners, and children in 2021.
IRCC is also working to increase the availability of virtual interviews at overseas offices for spousal sponsorship applicants at its Canadian and international offices.
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2. Expanding online applications for permanent residence
Today, Minister also declared that IRCC will begin transitioning to 100% digital applications for 19 permanent residence programs on September 23, 2022. Additionally, alternative formats will be available for people who require accommodations.
The transition will start on September 23, 2022 beginning with 8 PR programs. Furthermore, this will be completed for all the 19 PR programs by October 28, 2022. Click here for list of 19 PR programs that will transition to 100% online.
3. Improving IRCC processing time transparency
Starting fall 2023, IRCC will publish proactive estimates of how long it will take for an application to complete processing. This is to increase predictability for applicants, so that they can make their plans accordingly.
Previously launched new application status tracker in February 2022 for permanent residence applicants, sponsors and their representatives in the spouse, partner and dependent child categories will further include 7 more permanent residence and temporary residence programs.
4. Updating Canada Citizenship Program
IRCC has also changed course to provide citizenship applicants with more online services, such as virtual ceremonies and online citizenship tests.
In August 2021, IRCC introduced a new technology that enables most citizenship applications to be submitted online. The application process now allows groups of adults to apply together and is open to applicants at least 18 years old. By the end of the year, IRCC plans to expand this capability to include online applications for children under 18.
Source: IRCC Press Release