Original from Omair Quadri , “Ottawa is ready to use “aggressive measures” to close the immigration backlog, policy memo reveals” The Globe and Mail, published January 17, 2023. 

Edited by Natalie Zhang, student at law at RBHF Professional Corporation. 


Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has accumulated huge immigration backlog during the pandemic. For those who are waiting or will wait in the line in the Canadian immigration system, here is some good news from the federal government.

“The federal government is considering extraordinary measures to reduce its backlog of immigration applications, including waiving eligibility requirements for nearly half a million visitor visas, according to a policy memo reviewed by The Globe and Mail.

A draft document dated December 2022 reveals that IRCC is seeking to significantly reduce or eliminate its backlog of visitor visa applications by February and is prepared to take “aggressive action” to do so. As of early December, there were more than 700,000 temporary resident visa (TRV) applications in the system, part of the total. 

According to the memo, IRCC is considering two options to reduce the number of visitor visa applications. In the first, the department would process an estimated 195,000 applications in bulk. This could include a large number of tourists from countries that require visas to visit Canada. 

Under the second option, Immigration Secretary Sean Fraser would waive certain eligibility requirements for approximately 450,000 applications. As other efforts are being made to clear the TRV backlog, this decision would apply to all remaining applications. By waiving admission rules, foreign nationals would not have to prove they will leave Canada when their visa expires. 

Visitors would still be subject to an eligibility check. This ensures, for example, that applicants do not pose a known threat to national security.

IRCC is under significant pressure to reduce the backlog of applications. As of November 30, 2022, there were around 2.1 million applications in the system, more than half of which were in backlog – meaning they had been there longer than service standards to process. 

Potential visitors and immigrants were extremely frustrated with the processing delays. This has resulted in reputational damage for IRCC and a number of court cases against IRCC. For example, some PR applicants have been waiting for a decision for years, others are nearing the end of their work permits but have yet to know if they can remain in the country and continue their employment.

IRCC says it has invested millions of dollars in its processing capacity and hired hundreds of new employees to speed up decision-making. 

“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,” Mr. Fraser said at a news conference in December. ”

Looking for more information on temporary residents visa (TRV) applications in Canada? We provide a range of immigration law services to help you identify your best way forward, please contact us to learn more.

Categories: Immigration