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Canadian Immigration Visa Office Targets for 2008

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How long will it take to process a Canadian Permanent Resident Visa application? Well, that depends on several factors. One of the most important factors is the planned number of visas to be given out at a visa office (target numbers) for the year. The assignment of these target numbers to each Canadian visa office around the world is among the most significant annual decisions undertaken by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. 2008 targets have just come out.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) publishes estimated processing times based on the past performance of each visa office; they are historical estimates and therefore do not always reflect future performance. As more concrete indicators of application processing activity for the year ahead, CIC provides its annual targets for each category of immigration at every overseas Canadian visa office. As stated in a CIC memo, “Mission targets are not set at random. They are set so as to maximize efficiency (and thus over time minimize delay). They are set based on processing capacity and case inventories.”

Announced last November, Canada’s immigration plan for 2008 is to welcome somewhere between 240,000 and 265,000 new Canadian Permanent Residents. Below are some regional highlights of CIC targets for 2008.

Africa/Middle East Region
Targets are being increased for seven of the nine application processing posts in the region. Damascus will continue to be the leader in the region in terms of the number of Canadian Immigration Visas issued, however, there will be a shift in focus from Federal Skilled Worker to the Refugee category. The number of Refugee visas to be awarded has more than doubled since last year. The Abidjan visa office will see the greatest increase in processing of Federal Skilled Worker applications, growing from 90 in 2007 to 525 this year. Visa offices in Pretoria and in Accra will also see increases in 2008 in this category.

Asia/Pacific Region
Though only three visa offices in the region will see increases in the number of Federal Skilled Worker applications processed in 2008 (Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, and Sydney) almost all the visa offices will see increases in the number of provincially-selected immigrants. This trend reflects the growing importance of Provincial Nomination Programs, through which processing is much faster than the Federal Skilled Worker category. New Delhi remains the front-runner of the region with 21,345 visas to be issued in 2008, followed by Hong Kong and Manila.

European Region
Canadian visa offices in Bucharest, Kiev, Rome, and Warsaw will be processing greater numbers of applications in 2008 than they did in 2007. Berlin and Kiev are the only visa offices where a greater number of Federal Skilled Worker applications will be processed this year; however, almost all visa offices in the region will be processing more provincially selected applications for Permanent Residency. London and Paris will be issuing the greatest number of visas in the region.

Americas Region
Targets for 2008 are being increased in nine of the thirteen visa offices in the region, and Federal Skilled Worker targets are up for eleven of them. Buenos Aires and Buffalo are the only two visa offices where Federal Skilled Worker targets are down. However, Buffalo remains the front-runner of this category with 15,000 applications to be processed in 2008.

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