Thousands of IRCC applications assigned to inactive immigration officers

Almost 60,000 applications have been sent to inactive officers, according to a recent Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) request.

The ATIP request —submitted by the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) showed that 779 inactive Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) officers had been assigned (59,456) pending and re-opened applications for processing. Some officers had not logged into the system since 2006. Inactive officers are users that no longer use, nor have access to, the Global Case Management System.

It is unclear why IRCC has been assigning applications to inactive officers; however, according to CBC, IRCC was unable to remove these inactive users from the GCMS. According to the CBC report, active cases were assigned to inactive officers across Canadian airports, border ports, and processing centres; as well as officers in consulates in India, the US, the Philippines, Brazil, and others.

This comes at a time when Canada has been grappling with unprecedented immigration backlogs involving millions of applications. 

The backlog reduced to just over 2.2 million from last month’s 2.4 million, according to IRCC data. 

IRCC says that between January and October 2022, they produced 4.3 million final decisions for permanent residents, temporary residents and citizenship compared to 2.3 million final decisions in the same period last year. 

Since August, IRCC has reduced its overall inventory by nearly half a million applications. The department has also been setting the bar higher and higher for processing. At the end of November, IRCC had processed approximately 4.8 million applications—nearly twice the 2.5 million processed during the same period last year.

To help strengthen the immigration system, IRCC has digitized applications, hired and trained new employees, streamlined processes, and harnessed automation technologies to increase processing efficiency while protecting the safety and security of Canadians. The department remains on track to meet its goal to process 80% of new applications within service standards for most programs and continues to make strides in improving processing, resulting in shorter wait times for our clients.

Temporary residence: bringing more visitors, students and workers to Canada

For study permit processing, Canada is on pace to set a new record this year. As of November 30 this year, IRCC had processed over 670,000 study permits, compared to more than 500,000 during the same time period last year. As a result of these efforts, most new study permits are now being processed within the 60-day service standard.

Work permit processing also saw vast improvements, with nearly 700,000 work permits processed by November 30, compared to about 223,000 during the same period in 2019, before the pandemic.

IRCC continues to reduce backlogs and process visitor visas more quickly to respond to the growing number of people who want to visit Canada. On a monthly basis, Canada is now processing more visitor visa applications than it did prior to the pandemic. In November alone, over 260,000 visitor visas were processed. By contrast, the monthly average in 2019 was about 180,000 applications.

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