According to a policy memo, The Globe and Mail reported that Canada may be considering drastic measures to reduce its growing immigration backlog. Such as removing eligibility requirements for nearly half a million Canada visitor visas.
Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is ready to take “aggressive action” to significantly reduce its backlog of Canada visitor visa applications by February. According to a draft document from December.
The memo states that IRCC has two options for reducing visitor visa applications. It intends to bulk-process approximately 195,000 applications under the first. This could include a lot of tourists from countries where Canada requires a visa.
Canada would waive some eligibility requirements for approximately 450,000 applications under the second option. Foreign nationals would not be required to demonstrate that they will leave Canada when their visa expires if admission rules were waived.
An eligibility check would still be required for visitors. For instance, this ensures that applicants do not threaten national security.
The Immigration Minister of Canada, Sean Fraser, did not address any issues regarding the policy memo or the proposed changes in a statement.
He stated, “Canada is now processing applications for Canada visitor visas faster than it was before the pandemic.” He stated that in November, more than 260,000 visitor visas were processed, compared to a monthly average of approximately 180,000 in 2019.
Fraser added, "There is still much more work to be done to meet pre-pandemic processing timelines, despite the progress we've seen."
During the month of December, the inventory of applicants held by the IRCC saw a decrease from approximately 2.2 million to just over 2.1 million. More than 700,000 applications for temporary resident visas (TRVs) were in the system at the beginning of December.
At a press conference in December, Fraser stated, “We’re actually removing cases from our system faster than they’re coming in, which gives me confidence that we’re getting back on track.”