Private refugee sponsor groups in Canada can now apply online through the Permanent Residence Portal.
The moves comes months after it started accepting online applications for sponsorship and adoption programs, non-Express Entry Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP), Quebec Skilled Worker programs and the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP).
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is pledging to open up Permanent Residence Portal to some government-assisted refugee referral partners as well by the end of this year.
“This expansion gives sponsors a more convenient, secure and efficient way to submit their applications and referrals,” notes the IRCC website.
“They will receive immediate confirmation that they have successfully submitted an application and can avoid delays and issues with submitting applications by e-mail.”
Canadian immigration officials are working with the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program (RSTP) and other partners to help sponsor groups successfully while making the transition to the portal. RSTP has been holding information sessions and will be providing training and additional supports.
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The federal immigration department is claiming online application submissions will improve its processes by preventing incomplete applications from being submitted and save time.
“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,” said former Immigration Minister Sean Fraser when the online portal was launched.
“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.”
Ottawa’s permanent residence portal has been available to some applicants as early as the end of March 2021.
“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,” noted the IRCC on its website when the portal was rolled out.
It became available to most permanent residence programs by the end of October last year.
Self-employed people in Quebec and investors and entrepreneurs selected by that francophone central Canadian province were able to use the portal starting Oct. 7, 2022.
The following week, Oct. 14 last year, the online portal became available for use by those applying under the Agri-food Pilot and Start-Up Visa program and temporary residents applying for permanent residence.
Permanent Residence Portal Rolled Out For Most Immigration Programs Last Year
On Oct. 21 last year, 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 gained access to the portal.
And the last program to be added to the online portal in 2022 was the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) on Oct. 28 last year.
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.
Immigration officials in Canada have been increasingly using online options as a way of speeding up application processing, with 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,” noted the IRCC.
In September last year, 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.