Despite a labour crisis in some parts of the country, the federal government is halting fresh invitations due to a lack of processing capacity.

OTTAWA, ONTARIO — According to a briefing document, Canada’s high-skilled immigration system is badly backlogged, and even in the face of a labour shortage, the government is suspending fresh invitations because the department simply cannot process them rapidly enough.

According to The National Post The document was obtained through access to information and supplied by immigration lawyer Steven Meurrens. According to the memo, “an estimated 76,000” applicants for federal high-skilled worker applications are in the system, which is more than the government needs to reach targets all the way out in 2023.

According to the same document, there are more than 207,000 persons in the express entry pool, which includes skilled employees, skilled tradespeople, and those who have lived in Canada before.

Skilled workers, provincial nominees, family reunification, and refugees are among the various categories included in Canada’s immigration plan. The administration has continued to process provincial nominees, but other economic immigrants have been blocked since last fall.

The high skilled worker and trades programme requires applicants to submit a range of documentation, including a language exam, and then wait for an invitation to complete their application before it is processed.

Because of the travel prohibitions, applications for high-skilled workers from other countries have been on hold since September 2021. Last year, the government met its record-high immigration targets, but primarily by asking people who were already in Canada on temporary visas or as students to become permanent residents under a new temporary resident to permanent resident programme (TR2PR).

The government’s present immigration plan anticipates sending in 110,500 qualified employees next year, but the agency argues in a memo that this number might be halved due to the department’s other responsibilities.
“These decreases are attributable to the need for additional admissions capacity to meet the TR2PR stream and the resettlement of Afghan nationals to Canada,” the memo states.

The Liberals first promised to invite 20,000 Afghans to Canada, but increased the number to 40,000 during the fall campaign. 7,000 of them had landed in Canada as of the latest recent information.

When the House of Commons reconvenes in February, a fresh departmental immigration plan will be presented to Parliament.

The Department of Labor intends for a six-month processing period for federal skilled workers (FSW), but the document warns that this might be significantly longer.

“Processing times are now at 20.4 months (more than three times the industry standard) and are projected to increase when older inventory is handled. Throughout 2022, the FSW processing time is scheduled to increase to 36 months.”
Although Immigration Minister Sean Fraser was unavailable for an interview, Rémi Larivière, a spokeswoman for the department, said the government will continue to bring in highly trained workers despite the long lines.

“There will be no reduction in the number of new skilled permanent residents arriving in Canada to work and settle in 2022 due to the already existing robust inventory of talented candidates to process,” she wrote in an email. “This is a temporary stop; invitations to apply under the FHS streams will resume once the processing inventory has been reduced sufficiently to allow for new input.”

The fall fiscal update, according to Larivière, includes initiatives to help reduce the backlog.

“The Canadian government has proposed spending $85 million in 2022-23 to process more permanent and temporary residency applications and shorten processing times in major epidemic areas.”

The delays, according to Conservative MP Jasraj Singh Hallan, the party’s immigration critic, are too long.

“Not only is the tremendous backlog caused by the Liberal government at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada affecting hardworking arrivals, families, immigrants, and business owners, but it also threatens billions of dollars in much-needed economic growth in Canada,” he said in a statement.

Employers require labour, he said, and the government must respond promptly.

“Immigrants and employers in Canada cannot afford to wait three years for their Federal Skilled Worker applications to be processed.” It’s past time for the Liberals to set a firm timeline for the conclusion of the halt in the processing of federal skilled worker invitations.”

According to a research conducted by the Business Development Bank of Canada last fall, 55% of Canadian businesses are experiencing labour shortages. They discovered that in hospitality industries, that number may be as high as 80%.

The government’s Comprehensive Ranking System assigns a score to potential immigrants based on their degree of education, language competence, and other factors. According to the memo, someone would require a score of over 500 in the current condition of applications.

That is a very high score, according to Betsy Kane, an Ottawa immigration lawyer.

“What that means is a young pair with extremely good education for both the applicant and the individual in question, possibly only with executive-type job offers,” she explained. “What it’s telling you is that the 500-plus scores will mostly benefit power couples.”
According to Kane, because of the backlog, many persons on work or study permits may need extensions because their applications haven’t been processed.

The federal Liberals have set a goal of bringing in over 400,000 immigrants every year by 2020. Kane believes they require more than lofty objectives.

“The department has the resources to handle it.” All it takes are the right tools.”

She believes that part of that should be getting workers back into the office to handle applications, which are often submitted on paper.

“This department, like the Canada Revenue Agency and the Canada Border Services Agency, is a vital service,” she said. “These folks need to get back to work.”

Sergio Karas, a Toronto immigration lawyer, believes the agency should begin focusing more on the needs of Canadian employers.

“I don’t believe it’s a matter of staffing up. “I believe it’s a matter of realigning priorities and reassigning staff to process the types of applications required by the Canadian economy,” he added. “Employers are in severe need of qualified tradespeople, particularly in the construction business.”

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