Canada's permanent resident application approvals plummet

Canada's permanent resident application approvals plummet

Jamaica to Canada

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

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Dear Mr Brown,
I was recently refused a study permit for Canada after a very long processing time. A few of my friends are complaining about the same thing. Could you please give us some insight about what may account for the long wait time? I know the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down things in Canada, but it is ridiculous. I also heard that the Canadian economy is not doing so well with the shutdowns.

— MG

Dear MG:

The slowdown of the Canadian immigration system due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been alarming. Approvals for immigration applications fell by about three quarters compared to the period before the country shut down to flatten the curve of the pandemic.

Reduced capacity

Recently released data showed that between January and March 15, 2020, 81,963 people had temporary or permanent resident applications approved. Between March 16 and August 31, 2020 — a period twice as long — that number plummeted to 38,652. Other types of applications, such as extensions for work permit and visitor's visas, increased significantly.

The Immigration Department staffing reduced capacity to 38 per cent. Most Government operations halted as civil servants were sent home and overseas operations were decreased. However, as of September, the capacity has apparently increased to 90 per cent.

The Government has committed to increasing resources and streamlining in order to increase efficiency in clearing the backlog. Hopefully, the backlog will be cleared over time to meet the Government's immigration targets. However, critics are sceptical.

Economic stimulus

The Canadian Government has committed to spending C$100 billion, over a few years, to stimulate the economy. The spending will bring the deficit to a historic C$381.6 billion by March 2021.

This includes targeted relief for:

• Business sectors like tourism, travel and arts;

• Investments in long-term care homes;

• Distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine; and

• Packages for lower-incomes families (up to C$1,200 for each child under six).

Canada has secured seven different vaccine purchase contracts, expected to be sufficient for each Canadian to receive 10 doses.

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Canada has more than doubled in November, while more than 12,000 Canadians have died so far.

Please visit for additional information on Canadian permanent residence programmes, including Express Entry, the Study & Work programme, visas or appeals, etc.

Antonn Brown, BA, (Hons), LLB, MSc, RCIC, is an immigration counsel and an accredited Canadian education agent of JAMAICA2CANADA.COM — a Canadian immigration & education firm in Kingston. Send questions/comments to

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