Canadian Immigration News

Immigrants Still Waiting Backlog of Canadian Citizenship Applications

2 minute read
"For many immigrants, 2020 was a crucial year as they expected their immigration journey to come to an end after applying for Canadian citizenship. As the dates were set for the citizenship test by the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), no one expected that by March everything would change. In March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially announced the Covid-19 virus has caused a global pandemic. This led to the IRCC cutting down its operations to keep in line with the new lockdown and social distancing restrictions."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Jun 25, 2021
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For many immigrants, 2020 was a crucial year as they expected their immigration journey to come to an end after applying for Canadian citizenship. As the dates were set for the citizenship test by the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), no one expected that by March everything would change. In March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially announced the Covid-19 virus has caused a global pandemic. This led to the IRCC cutting down its operations to keep in line with the new lockdown and social distancing restrictions. 

All test appointments were canceled, except a few “urgent exams”, which were held virtually. All citizenship tests were postponed until the end of November when the department was finally able to shift the test online. 

What Is the Current Backlog for Canadian Citizenship Applications?

According to the IRCC, the backlog of citizenship applications grew from 87,000 people in March 2020 to 102,000 people by the start of 2021. There are also about 311,259 permanent residents waiting to go through the process for Canadian citizenship by the end of January 2021. Out of these, around 102,989 permanent residents have been waiting between 13 to 18 months and the remaining 865 applicants for more than 4 years. 

An immigrant who started their citizenship application in 2018 is still waiting for their application to be processed. During this time, they have to pay to renew their Permanent Resident Card (PR Card) and the passport from their residence country and even submit biometric information periodically to help with the IRCC’s background check.

Many who were able to receive an invitation to take their citizenship test online in December are still waiting for the results, and other eligibility tests to clear which have also been delayed due to the ongoing pandemic. This has increased the worries of many immigrants of not being able to vote in the upcoming federal elections.

When Will the Backlog Be Cleared?

The IRCC began an aggressive plan to clear 5,000 test invitations by the end of 2020. Canadian Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino has asked the immigrants to have faith and patience as more digital testing and citizenship ceremonies will be conducted very soon.

Recently, the IRCC announced that it has sent out around 65,893 invitations for citizenship tests and by the end of April 2021, around 43,697 people will have completed their citizenship tests.

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