Immigration Minister Sean Fraser says his department is going on a hiring spree to bring 1,250 new employees on board by the end of the fall to tackle massive backlogs in processing applications.
As of the end of July, just over half of the 2.4 million pending immigration applications have taken longer to process than the government’s service standards dictate they should.
In January, Fraser vowed to eliminate immigration backlogs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic by the end of the year, but that was before Canada launched a major response to the refugee crisis sparked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Fraser says the more recent delays have been caused by the government’s response to humanitarian crises in Afghanistan and Ukraine and technology updates for the government’s aging systems, leading to longer waits for people who want to come to Canada.
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In June, the prime minister announced ministers would form a task force to deal with growing delays for immigration applications and other government services, and dedicated $85 million to plow through the backlogs at the end last year.
Fraser says the new hires have so far allowed the government to get the waits back on track for new applicants to the express entry permanent residence program.
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