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What causes variations in Canadian immigration visa processing times?

IRCC’s Global Visa Processing Offices: Streamlining Processes with Regional Responsibilities

To streamline visa processing, IRCC operates multiple offices worldwide, each serving nationals from various countries within a specific region. While this setup aims to expedite processing times, variations in visa processing duration may arise due to location disparities./Canadian immigration

Service Standards and Processing Times


Canadian immigration

IRCC Service Standards

IRCC establishes different service standards for various application types, representing the targeted processing time. For instance, Express Entry applications received after July 2022 have a service standard of six months, while temporary resident visas aim for processing within 60-120 days.

It’s important to note that the service standard differs from the actual processing time, and applications exceeding the service standard are categorized as backlog.

IRCC strives to process a minimum of 80% of all applications within the designated service standard.

What causes variations among processing offices?

Factors Affecting Processing Offices

According to IRCC, visa offices face distinct operational challenges based on their country or regional location. To maximize efficiency, applications may be transferred between offices as necessary.

When an application is unclear or incomplete, requiring additional information from the applicant, it can lead to extended processing time. The promptness and thoroughness of the applicant’s response influence the duration. Additionally, difficulties in verifying an applicant’s information can vary by region and contribute to longer processing times.

Additional Factors Influencing Regional Disparities

Factors Contributing to Regional Disparities

Regional disparities in visa processing can be attributed to resource allocation and the type of application received.

Resource allocation plays a significant role, as IRCC’s workforce predominantly operates from the national headquarters in Ottawa, with a small percentage located internationally. This limited capacity in international visa processing offices creates disparities in processing capabilities./Canadian immigration

To address these disparities, IRCC has recently opened new visa processing centers, such as in the Philippines and announced plans for a center in Islamabad, Pakistan. These additions aim to enhance processing capacity, accommodate the high volume of visa applications, and improve client service.

The type of application received also influences processing times. For instance, study permit applications from outside Canada currently have an average processing time of seven weeks, while applying from within Canada has a service standard of three weeks.

Similarly, applying for the Express Entry Federal Skilled Worker Program from outside Canada can take up to 26 months, as per the IRCC processing time tool.

What effect did the recent strike have on processing times?

Impact of Recent Strike on Processing Times

The recent strike led to approximately 155,000 federal government employees, including those at IRCC, participating in strike action from April 19 to May 3. As a result, applicants were notified of delays in processing both new and ongoing applications.(Canadian immigration)

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser estimated that around 100,000 applications were not processed during the strike period, which would have otherwise been processed under normal circumstances. However, he expressed optimism that it would take only a few months to return to pre-pandemic service standards. This expectation is based on the measures already in place to address the backlog caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which reached a peak of 2.7 million applications.

Progress in Study and Work Permit Processing, Temporary Resident Visas Still in Backlog

Study and work permit processing times have nearly reached the pre-pandemic service level, with delays reduced to “within one or two days” of the previous standards.

However, there is still a significant backlog in the processing of temporary resident visas, including visitor visas. The minister acknowledged that the department was making steady progress and aimed to achieve a 30-day service standard for temporary resident visas by this summer.

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