Ottawa: Aiming to clear pending backlog of application for permanent residency and renewable of passport after Covid-19 pandemic, Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth and co-chair of the Service Delivery Task Force said that they government has taken various initiatives including hiring over 2,000 employees now providing passport services to help deal with large increases in demand and expansion of simplified renewals of passports to include adults who have had a passport issued in the last 15 years.
The Minister said that Canada is working to strengthen its immigration system and is going to hire about 1,250 new employees by the end of the fall to increase processing capacity and tackle the backlogs in the short term.
The government has welcomed over 300,000 new permanent resident admissions in 2022 by August 22, reaching the milestone earlier than in any previous year while it has issued over 349,000 new work permits from January 1 to July 31 this year, compared to approximately 112,000 issued during the same period in 2021.
The Canadian government has finalized about 360,000 study permits between January 1 and July 31, 2022, compared to about 306,000 finalized in the same period in 2021 aiming to reduce accumulated files after Covid-19 pandemic. About 169,000 students are still awaiting approval of their study permit applications as of August 15.
The government has also approved over 216,000 applications for the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel from March 17 to August 24, 2022 for Ukrainians and family members looking to find safety in Canada.
To improve passport processing, the government increased the Service Canada workforce, with over 2,000 employees now providing passport services to help deal with large increases in demand. The expansion of simplified renewals of passports to include adults who have had a passport issued in the last 15 years.
Apart from this, aiming to help improve government services, with a focus on reducing delays around passport processing, immigration services, and at Canadian airports, the Prime Minister announced the creation of a new ministerial task force on June 25 this year and after creation of the task force, Service Canada has issued over 850,000 passports. The average wait times at the passport call centre have significantly decreased from a peak of 108 minutes earlier this spring to 24 minutes as of August 21.
“Families, communities, and businesses deserve an immigration system that works for everyone. Through targeted investments, hiring 1250 employees to address the backlog, and the improvement of our online systems and processes, we will deliver on our promise to Canadians. We will reduce wait times and work hard to attract and retain skilled workers, as we continue to help communities across the country access the talent they need,” Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship said.