Canada set to modernize immigration system

Kareem El-Assal
Published: June 15, 2020

Canada is expecting a significant surge in immigration applications once global travel restrictions begin to ease.

This is revealed in a new document that is publicly available on a federal government website.

The purpose of the document is to find a vendor that can help Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) modernize how it processes immigration applications.

Canada’s special immigration measures during COVID-19

The document notes that the coronavirus pandemic has impacted IRCC’s operations.

Canada has implemented travel restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19, and federal government employees in Canada and abroad are adhering to strict social distancing and remote working measures.

Nonetheless, IRCC continues to do its best to fulfil its mandate to temporary foreign workers, international students, visitors, permanent residents, citizenship seekers, refugees, asylum claimants, and Canadian citizens.

IRCC has introduced many special measures to support application processing for foreign nationals during this time.

On the other hand, the document acknowledges that many IRCC processing and contact centres have been shut down or are operating at significantly reduced capacity. This has severely limited IRCC’s ability to process applications.

Find out if you are eligible for any Canadian immigration programs

How IRCC is looking to improve application processing

Once IRCC’s operations return to normal, the department expects it will have significantly different policies, procedures, and digital solutions in place to handle the post-coronavirus spike in applications that it is expecting.

IRCC is seeking to be proactive by developing new strategies, processes, and digital systems to enable it to better fulfil its mandate.

IRCC, for example, would like to utilize digital processes whenever possible to minimize the need for in-person or paper-processes. This would not only protect the safety of IRCC and the public, but could also result in more efficient and faster application processing.

As such, IRCC is looking for a vendor to support its modernization efforts in the following ways:

  • Develop tools and technologies to rapidly increase IRCC’s operational capacity so it can handle current manual application processing challenges and the anticipated surge in applications
  • Develop digital tools to address new social distancing requirements by reducing the need for in-person meetings through digital solutions (e.g., online citizenship testing, and visa and citizenship applications)
  • Identify digital technology solutions for IRCC’s case management system
  • Identify how to automate certain processes so that immigration agents can focus more of their time on complex immigration applications
  • Incorporate data analytics solutions to provide insights on operational volumes and processing capacities so that IRCC can effectively respond to changes in Canada and abroad
  • Develop strategies to strengthen IRCC’s cybersecurity

Canada remains committed to welcoming immigrants, workers, students, and visitors

Under Canada’s current Immigration Levels Plan 2020-2022, the country is seeking to welcome over one million immigrants in the coming three years.

The coronavirus pandemic has slowed immigration to Canada in 2020, but immigration minister Marco Mendicino says Canada remains committed to welcoming immigration to supporting its economy.

In addition, Canada is still holding Express Entry and Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) draws at the moment, plus also processing study and work permits, and enabling immediate family to enter the country.

It is highly likely that Canada will see a major spike in permanent and temporary resident arrivals once the global health and economic situation improves. Prior to the start of the pandemic, Canada was welcoming record numbers of immigrants, foreign workers, and international students.

By seeking to modernize its processes through the use of technology, IRCC should be in a stronger position to accommodate even more foreign nationals once the pandemic is over.

Find out if you are eligible for any Canadian immigration programs

© 2020 CIC News All Rights Reserved

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