Weber Immigration Consultants present our bi-weekly news, giving you the latest updates on Canadian immigration policies and regulations. In this edition, we cover the second half of February 2023. Follow us on social media to be aware of changes that could affect your immigration journey.
Canada granted a staggering 550,000 study permits to international students in 2022
On February 15, 2023, Statistics Canada released a report showcasing an impressive new record on the number of international students in the country. IRCC approved 551,405 applications in 2022 alone – far surpassing previous years! By December 31, 2023, the number of international students with valid study permits reached 807,750 – a ground-breaking milestone never seen in Canadian history. In 2022, Canada accepted students from 184 countries, most from India, China, the Philippines, France, and Nigeria. Canada has seen a dramatic surge in international students in the past several years. These rising numbers indicate Canada’s commitment to creating an increasingly diverse and open environment for learning.
This dynamic influx of people from around the world has enriched not only research but also the cultural fabric of Canadian society. International students bring valuable perspectives, making the Canadian experience more meaningful and inspiring. The quality of education and immigration possibilities make Canada an attractive destination for students seeking knowledge, skills, and experience. In addition, graduates of Canadian institutions are qualified for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP), enabling them to gain employment in Canada after graduation. If you are also planning to study in Canada, Weber Immigration Consultants can provide the necessary guidance and support in navigating your studies and settlement options.
Around 50% of the immigration applications exceed the set service standards
According to the latest Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) data on immigration inventories and backlogs, as of February 21, 2023, there were 1,944,500 permanent residence, temporary residence permits and citizenship applications in all IRCC inventories. IRCC is devoted to processing 80% of applications within their service standard, though certain complicated cases may necessitate a complete assessment. Unfortunately, the current situation tells a different story: 49.8% of applications in the inventory exceed the set service standards. Presently, an alarming 47% of temporary residence and 44% of permanent residency applications need to be completed. Additionally, over a quarter (27%) of citizenship applications have exceeded the service standards.
IRCC is reducing delays and strengthening the immigration system by digitizing applications, hiring new staff, and employing automated technology for accelerated processing times. To accommodate Canada’s population growth, the Government of Canada has allocated funds for more modernized procedures to expedite immigration processing. To maintain transparency with applicants, IRCC has developed an online tracker that allows those who have submitted applications to stay current on their file status. The Canadian Government is devoted to furnishing top-notch services for anyone looking to live in Canada permanently.
Canada to collect biometrics for temporary residence applications
On February 23, 2023, the Government of Canada resumed biometrics collection for temporary residence applications submitted within Canada. From that date forward, those applying for visitor visas, study and work permits and extensions must present biometric results. Prospective candidates planning to apply for a temporary residency in Canada can submit their biometrics at any Service Canada Centre collection centers nationwide. Biometric data collected by Service Canada will include fingerprints, photos, signatures, and other information necessary to process temporary residence applications.
On July 15, 2020, IRCC took a decisive step in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by temporarily waiving the biometric requirement for applicants applying for temporary residence in Canada. This decision was prompted due to service closures and disruptions at various collection locations throughout the country. The Government of Canada recognizes the significance of protecting its citizens. Thus, all individuals wishing to travel or extend their stay in Canada must provide biometric data to verify their identity and guarantee security.
IRCC may fast-track immigration applications from earthquake-hit Turkey and Syria
Canada’s Immigration Minister, Sean Fraser, declared that the Canadian Government aims to expedite applications of citizens from Turkey and Syria due to a devastating earthquake in southwestern Turkey. The United Nations approximates that this incident caused around 6,000 fatalities in Syria alone; Turkish authorities report over 40,000 losses within their borders. In light of these overwhelming circumstances, the government wishes to assist with immigration initiatives for those affected by the earthquake.
To respond to the ongoing humanitarian crisis, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is looking into possible methods of accelerating Syrian and Turkish applications. This includes providing support and resources to refugee claimants whose applications are already in the system and exploring ways to fast-track new immigration applications so Canada can welcome those impacted by the earthquake as soon as possible.
A new initiative will help IRCC to improve Canada’s immigration system
On February 23, Sean Fraser, Immigration Minister, unveiled a new initiative to optimize the Canadian immigration system and analyze how immigration policies and programs affect Canada’s future. This spring, the An Immigration System for Canada’s Future initiative will conduct exploratory dialogue sessions, workshops, and surveys to understand how immigration policies can best benefit the nation. Collecting feedback from citizens through these activities ensures that Canada’s future decisions are rooted in public opinion – which ultimately leads to extensive positive impacts for upcoming generations.
In 2022, Canada created a record-breaking milestone by admitting 437,000 permanent residents. Immigration has become the most significant factor in population growth for Canada – 8.3 million people, or 23% of Canadians, were immigrants or former landed permanent residents, which is more than all G7 nations combined. Canada’s population is aging rapidly, and the ratio of senior citizens to working-age adults has fallen from seven to one in 1960 to three or even two for each senior citizen today. The Government of Canada acknowledges that this decrease requires a more innovative immigration strategy to maintain the current growth rate.
India accounts for over a quarter of newcomers to Canada
The reports recently released by IRCC indicated that in 2022, approximately 46% of the people who permanently moved to Canada were from Asian countries. Unquestionably, India was Canada’s lead source of immigrants, making up 25% of all permanent citizens. Compared to China, Canada’s second-highest source of new immigrants, India had an impressive six-fold increase, with 118,095 landed as permanent residents in 2022. Last year, there were only 31,815 Chinese permanent residents.
Despite a slight decline (-6.7%) compared to 2021, Ontario still welcomed the most significant portion of permanent residents in 2022. Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan followed Ontario in welcoming immigrants into their provinces. While Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Alberta experienced an increase in immigration of 3.4%, 2.2%, and 1.4%, respectively, compared to 2021, British Columbia saw a decrease of -3.1%.
Canada doubled the number of parents and grandparents accepted under the PGP
Last year, the number of families reunited through Canada’s Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP) surged significantly – far exceeding its pre-pandemic record with a more than twofold increase. IRCC’s latest documents have revealed that an astounding 27,195 newcomers received permanent residency in Canada through the PGP last year. After a sharp dip in immigration caused by public health protocols and travel limitations, the PGP has been steadily bouncing back with more sponsorship applications.
The PGP is an important program that enables Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their parents and grandparents for permanent residence in Canada. It also offers a pathway to reunite families across different borders, allowing them to live together in Canada. The Government of Canada is committed to strengthening the PGP program and increasing its intake numbers, ensuring that more parents and grandparents are accepted annually. This surge marks welcome news for families separated by borders and serves as a reminder of the importance of reunification for immigrants. If you want to sponsor your parents or grandparents, contact Weber Immigration Consultants for the best advice and ensure your family reunification application is in good standing for approval.
Canada to prioritize temporary and permanent residency applications from Iran
Effective March 1, 2023, the Government of Canada has taken steps to facilitate and prioritize the applications of Iranian nationals who wish to either extend their temporary status or apply for a new temporary resident visa to remain within Canadian borders. These measures also provide open work permits for Iranians already residing in Canada. Moreover, Canada has waived certain processing fees to help Iranian nationals extend their stay in Canada. Iranian temporary residents in Canada may extend or change their temporary status for free. Furthering its support for people who could be subject to human rights violations, the Government also eliminated passport, Canadian citizenship certificate, and permanent resident travel document fees for Iranians and Canadian citizens living in Iran.
On October 7, 2022, the Government of Canada declared drastic measures to hold Iran accountable for its gross and systematic human rights violations and terrorist activities and protect and help Iranian nationals facing increasingly oppressive conditions in their homeland. In addition, Iranians who reside abroad and cannot return home can seek refuge in Canada under three distinct streams of the refugee program: the Government-Assisted Refugees Program, the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program, and the Blended Visa Office-Referred Program.
Weber Immigration Consultants provide clients with the highest quality immigration services. We are committed to taking a personalized approach and providing individualized advice that considers each client’s unique needs. Feel free to contact us for more information about how we can help you with your immigration needs.