Online applications start Friday for sponsorship and adoption programs, non-Express Entry Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP), Quebec Skilled Worker programs and the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) – but other programs for permanent residence are going to be phased in later.
“Immigration is about people. It’s about starting a new job, reuniting a family and creating a new life in this beautiful country we call home,” says Immigration Minister Sean Fraser.
“As we look to strengthen our immigration system by updating our technology, people—our clients—must be at the centre of all that we do.
“By adding resources where they are needed, and leveraging technology to make processing faster and applying easier for our clients, we can give newcomers and new citizens the welcoming experience they deserve.”
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Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) vowed to offer foreign nationals the opportunity to apply for permanent residence through its online portal back in January. Alternative formats will still be available for those who require special accommodations.
Ottawa’s permanent residence portal has been available to some applicants as early as the end of March last year.
“This online option gives clients more flexibility to apply from their devices and allows them to receive immediate confirmation that they have successfully submitted their application,” notes the IRCC on its website.
The online portal will become available to most permanent residence programs by the end of October.
Self-employed people in Quebec and investors and entrepreneurs selected by that francophone central Canadian province will be able to use the portal starting Oct. 7.
The following week, Oct. 14, the online portal will become available for use by those applying under the Agri-food Pilot and Start-Up Visa program and temporary residents applying for permanent residence.
On Oct. 21, those applying under the Home Support Worker and Home Child Care Provider Pilots and under humanitarian and compassionate grounds as well as self-employed people apply under the federal program gain access to the portal.
The last program to be added to the online portal will be the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) on Oct. 28.
COVID-19 Pandemic Spurred IRCC To Move More Quickly Towards Online Applications
Canada’s immigration department greatly sped up its planned move towards online applications during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to more quickly process applications and allow social distancing and transparency.
After launching its citizenship application status tracker for clients in May last year – a tracker that is going to be expanded to include access to immigration consultants and lawyers this month – the IRCC introduced another application status tracker, this one for permanent residence applications, in February this year.
“By spring 2023, we will have expanded this application status tracker to include seven more permanent residence and temporary residence programs,” the IRCC promises on its website.
The IRCC has also been offering more online options for citizenship applicants, including virtual ceremonies and online citizenship tests.
“We launched a new tool in August 2021 that allows most citizenship applications to be submitted online,” notes the IRCC.
“The tool is open to applicants aged 18 and over, and has now expanded to allow groups of adults to apply together. IRCC intends to expand this tool to offer online applications for minors under the age of 18 by the end of the year.”
CRPP Replaced By eApp For Refugee Applications This Month
This month, the IRCC also switched out its headache-inducing Canadian Refugee Protection Portal (CRPP) for the new eApp.
Through the eApp, prospective refugees can submit their documents and those of their family members who are also in Canada.
“Applicants will have 90 days to submit a claim once it has been opened,” notes the IRCC. “For privacy reasons, incomplete claims that are not submitted within 90 days will be deleted.”
Those who started but have not yet submitted claims through the CRPP as of Sept. 13 will have until the end of the year.
‘”Individuals requiring accommodations may still make a paper claim. Each request for accommodations will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis,” notes the IRCC.