Canada Permanent Residence Application Backlog Drops, But Overall Backlog Hits 2.62m

Canada Permanent Residence Application Backlog Drops, But Overall Backlog Hits 2.62m
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Canada’s immigration applications backlog hit 2.62 million in mid-July despite a drop in the inventory for permanent residence and citizenship, the latest Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)  figures show.

“In terms of temporary residence, IRCC is receiving a much higher volume of applications,” noted IRCC spokesperson Julie Lafortune in an e-mailed response to on Friday.

“During the first five months of 2022, IRCC received 31 per cent more temporary resident applications, or 1,940,993 compared to 1,482,143, during the same period in 2019, before the pandemic.”

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Permanent residence applications at the IRCC had dropped about 1.5 per cent, to 514,116 on July 17 from 522,047 about five weeks earlier.

And citizenship applications in the backlog also fell by a little more than 1.8 per cent during that time, from 394,664 to 387,368.

The IRCC is processing a more applications this year than it did in 2019, the last full year before the COVID-19 pandemic. There are, in particular, a lot more study permits going through the system.

“It is worth noting that between January and May 2022, IRCC processed 221,522 study permit applications,” said Lafortune. “This compares with 128,021 in 2019, before the pandemic. This represents a 73 per cent increase in processing of international study permits so far in 2022 compared to the same time period in 2019.”

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But the IRCC is still facing a mountain of applications.

“Global migration has been upended by the pandemic,” said Lafortune. “Application inventories grew during the pandemic while health and travel restrictions were in effect and it will take some time to fully recover. IRCC is committed to providing quality client service across its global network by managing our programs and services in an efficient manner aligned with our goals.”

The number of applications in the system for temporary residence are skyrocketing this year, jumping by 248,950, or roughly 16.9 per cent, from by 1,471,173 in early June to 1,720,123 by mid-July. 

CUAET Driving Surge In Temporary Residence Applications

A big driver of the jump in temporary residence applications is the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET), a program launched by Ottawa on March 17 to welcome an unlimited number of Ukrainians fleeing their war-torn country.

The latest IRCC figures show 362,664 applications were received under that program as of July 5, up 66,501, or 22.4 per cent, from 296,163 only a month earlier. Just under half of those, 151,353, had been approved as of early this month.

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) reports that 58,869 Ukrainians have came to Canada in the first six months of this year, including 9,223 at land crossings and 49,646 by air. 

“This is the fastest, safest, and most efficient way for Ukrainians to come to Canada,” tweeted Immigration Minister Sean Fraser earlier this year. “It eliminates most of the normal visa requirements for all Ukrainian nationals, with the exception of background and security screening.”

Another big driver of immigration this year has been the one-time, temporary-to-permanent resident (TR-to-PR) program which took applications until November and was flooded with 84,177 applications.

Canada’s Backlog of Permanent Residence Applications Nudged Down to 514,116 by Mid-July
Immigration Category PR IMM Cat Sub Component Grand Total
Economic Agri-Food Pilot Program 765
Atlantic Immigration Pilot Programs 2,380
Atlantic Immigration Program 33
Canadian Experience Class (EE) 5,195
Canadian Experience Class (No EE) 109
Caring for Children 60
Federal Entrepreneur 4
Federal Self Employed 4,502
Federal Skilled Workers (C-50) 123
Federal Skilled Workers (EE) 18,127
Federal Skilled Workers (Pre C-50) 23
High Medical Needs 7
Home Child Care Pilot 18,191
Home Support Worker Pilot 6,912
Interim Pathway Measure 767
Live-in Caregiver 931
Provincial/Territorial Nominees (EE) 27,925
Provincial/Territorial Nominees (No EE) 35,599
Quebec Entrepreneur 281
Quebec Investor 11,115
Quebec Self Employed 94
Quebec Skilled Workers 24,570
Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot 1,118
Skilled Trades (EE) 369
Skilled Trades (No EE) 2
Start-up Business 1,309
TR to PR 51,392
Economic – Total 211,903
Family Class Children & Other Family Class 9,147
FCH-Family relations – H&C 3,067
Parents and Grandparents 47,025
Spouses & Partners 59,012
Family Class – Total 118,251
Humanitarian & Compassionate / Public Policy HC & PH class-ADM Dependant Person Overseas 44
Humanitarian & Compassionate Straight 11,362
Humanitarian & Compassionate with Risk or  Discrimination 13,062
Public Policy With RAP 39
Public Policy Without RAP 5,341
Humanitarian & Compassionate / Public Policy – Total 29,848
Permit Holders Class Permit Holders Class 16
Permit Holders Class – Total 16
Protected Persons Blended Visa Office-Referred 150
Dependants Abroad of Protected Persons 26,628
Federal Government-assisted Refugees 33,531
Privately Sponsored Refugees 71,076
Protected Persons Landed In Canada 21,770
Quebec Government-assisted Refugees 943
Protected Persons – Total 154,098
Overall – Total 514,116
Application Type Grand Total
Study Permit 196,729
Study Permit – Extension 35,482
Temporary Resident Visa 903,971
Visitor Record 90,195
Work Permit 313,710
Work Permit – Extension 180,036
Overall – Total 1,720,123


IRCC had Backlog of 387,368 Citizenship Applications in Mid-July 
Application Category Inventory Total
Grant 387,368

That pathway targeted healthcare and other workers in Canada and recent international graduates from Canadian colleges and universities. It applied across the country with the exception of the francophone province of Quebec which operates its own immigration system.

By mid-July, 51,392 immigrants gained their permanent residency to Canada under this pathway.

In its Immigration Levels Plan for 2022 to 2024, Canada had targeted 40,000 new permanent residents under federal economic public policies for this year, which includes the TR-to-PR pathway, with a range of 30,000 to 48,000 new permanent residents. It has already surpassed that target.

In the backlog, the latest figures from the IRCC show 211,903 applications for economic immigration, 118,251 for family sponsorships, 29,848 for humanitarian and compassionate grounds, and 154,098 for protected persons and refugees.

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