Canada faces huge backlog of immigration applications

The backlog at the Canadian Immigration Service is enormous. Currently, the counter stands at nearly 1.8 million immigration applications waiting to be processed. The backlog has increased by nearly 350,000 applications since July alone.

Dramatic figures

CIC News has received data from the ICCRC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) showing how many applications are in the pile for each visa category. These figures are applicable as of October 27 and rounded up:

Applications for permanent residency
(economic visas, family visas, refugee and humanitarian visa applications)
Temporary visa applications
(student visas, work visas, temporary resident visas and tourist visa extensions)
Applications for Canadian citizenship
(as of 26 October)
Total number of visas in backlog 1.792.000

The cause of this backlog

An ICCRC spokesperson explained that the ongoing international travel restrictions and border closures are causes for these shocking figures. But also the limited operational capacity and the difficulties for clients to obtain documentation from abroad due to COVID-19 have caused problems in the processing of applications. This has allegedly hampered the ICCRC’s ability to complete applications, causing delays that are said to be beyond ICCRC’s control.

The ICCRC has also published data on the number of applications processed during the pandemic. The figures are from January to September 2021.

2021 2020
Applications for permanent residency 337.000 214.000
Temporary visa applications   1.500.000 1.700.000
Applications for Canadian citizenship 134.000 80.000