The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website suggests applications take six months to process. In reality, many applicants are finding it takes far longer.
The IRCC says the process has been negatively impacted by COVID-19 and resulting travel restrictions. However, the agency says its offices are starting to reopen across the country and processing times will improve as a result.
A significant portion of the backlog is due to the requirement for each applicant to provide an in-person fingerprint. The closure of offices due to the pandemic has made this requirement impossible to meet until offices reopened.
More than 27,000 invitations have been issued to skilled immigrants as of February this year to apply for permanent residence under the Express Entry System. The federal government also adjusted its points-based Comprehensive Ranking System to make entry into Canada easier, dropping the threshold from 454 to just 75 points. The goal is to bring 400,000 immigrants into Canada by the end of 2021.