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Immigration Announcement

Canada’s Immigration Backlog Declined to 2.1 Million

Austin Campbell

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Immigration Backlog

According to the latest update from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Canada’s immigration backlog dropped from 2.2 to 2.1 million in December 2022. The record across all aspects of business has been updated as of January 2nd and 3rd of this year.

Since July 2021, inventory across all lines of business has progressed as follows:

  • January 2-3 2023: 2,152,220 persons
  • December 3, 2022: 2,243,097 persons
  • November 3, 2022: 2,411,388 persons
  • September 30, 2022: 2,600,000 persons
  • August 31, 2022: 2,583,827 persons
  • July 15-17, 2022: 2,679,031 persons
  • June 1-6, 2022: 2,387,884 persons
  • April 30-May 2, 2022: 2,130,385 persons
  • April 11 and 12, 2022: 2,031,589 persons
  • March 15 and 17, 2022: 1,844,424 persons
  • February 1, 2022: 1,815,628 persons
  • December 15, 2021: 1,813,144 persons
  • October 27, 2021: 1,792,404 persons
  • July 6, 2021: 1,447,474 persons

The Current Flow of Inventories

As of January 3, the citizenship inventory shows 301,388 applicants, compared to 314,630 on November 30. As of January 2, there were 521,552 permanent residents in the database, compared to 512,342 on December 2. Also on January 3, there were 1,329,280 temporary residents on the record compared to from 1,416,125 on December 3. Consequently, the temporary residence inventory shows the biggest reduction in these two of the three major categories.

Immigration CategoryNo. of Persons as of January 2-3, 2023
Permanent Residence521,552
Temporary Residence1,329,280
Citizenship301,388
Grand Total2,152,220

Express Entry and PNP Inventories


Currently, there are 48,409 Express Entry applications awaiting processing. The inventory experienced an increase of over 5,000 since December 2 data.

Over the past month, 3,733 Canadian Experience Class applicants and 1,869 Federal Skilled Worker applicants applied for Express Entry programs.

In July, the IRCC resumed inviting Express Entry candidates from all programs. Due to IRCC’s struggles to meet its service standard of processing Express Entry applications within six months, draws were limited to candidates in the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) between September 21, 2021, and July 6, 2022. After pausing the number of Express Entry invitations for Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates, IRCC has returned to its six-month service standard for candidates who have received a permanent residence invitation since July 6.

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The PNP has an inventory of 62,720 total applications for both base and enhanced programs. The increase in PNP is not significant from the month of December data which stood at 62,343 persons.

Family class inventory

A slight drop in the number of applications for all family-class immigration programs has been reported to 125,631 down from 127,091 on December 3. However, it has slightly come down to 127,091. The Spouses and Partners program is among the largest inventories among all lines of business, at 61,481, a slight decrease of 1,460 as compared to December 2 which stood at 62,106. The Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP) has an inventory of 52,960 persons compared to 53,770 people waiting for decisions in December.

Service Standards

According to the IRCC website that keeps track of all applications, 1.09 million applications were backlogged as of November 30. Since there were 1.2 million applications pending from October 31, the IRCC successfully processed over 110,000 of those applications. This occurs as the number of applications for permanent residency has increased. In order to meet the backlog, IRCC strives to handle 80% of applications from all business lines, within service standards. Depending on the kind of application, a different service standard applies. It takes more than 6 months for other economic class categories, if not a permanent residence application. 

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