Canada’s immigration backlog now over 1.8 million applications


Published on January 6th, 2022 at 01:18pm EST
Updated on January 6th, 2022 at 01:46pm EST


Three Canadian flags waving on the side of a tall building.

IRCC has more than 1.8 million applications in the queue, according to data from December.

CIC News obtained the data via an information request to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The backlog includes future citizens, permanent residents, international students, temporary workers, and visitors.

Adding up these categories brings the total to a backlog of 1,813,144 applications in December. In October, IRCC reported a backlog of 1,791,936. The difference means the backlog has grown by more than 21,000 immigration applications in a span of 49 days, a growth of 1%.

For most of these categories, except citizens, the new data reflect IRCC’s inventory as of December 15, 2021:

Permanent residence backlog grand total

Immigration category Persons as of December 15
Economic Class 234,770
Family Class 105,298
Humanitarian and Compassionate/Public Policy 27,520
Permit Holders Class 24
Protected Persons 157,658
Grand total 525,270

Temporary residence backlog grand total

TR Category Persons as of December 15
Study Permit 122,476
Study Permit extension 24,461
Temporary Resident Permit 6,726
Temporary Resident Visa 403,752
Visitor Record extension 60,499
Work Permit 78,080
Work Permit extension 123,880
Grand Total 819,874

As of October 31, 2021, there are around 468,000 citizenship applications in the inventory, which is the same figure IRCC provided to CIC News for October 27 data. The immigration department did not provide more recent citizenship figures.

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Express Entry and Family Class backlogs reduced, refugee backlogs increase

As of December, the Express Entry backlog was at more than 119,000, compared to October when it was nearly 138,000.

The difference was largely seen in Canadian Experience Class (CEC) applications, which was down to nearly 25,000 applications in December compared to more than 48,000 in October. The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) backlog also went down, 805 in the December queue compared to 931 in October.

The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) backlog increased to about 55,000 in December, whereas it was at nearly 51,000 in October. There was also an increase in the enhanced Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) backlog, 39,000 in December compared to 38,000 in October.

Overall family class applications were down to about 105,000 this past December, compared to more than 111,000 in October. This includes programs like spousal sponsorship, which was down slightly but remains around the 55,000 application mark, and the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP), which was down to about 38,000 compared to more than 43,000.

In December, the backlog of protected persons (refugees and in-Canada asylum claimants) was almost 158,000. In October, it was about 153,000 applications.

The following tables provide detail on the backlogs by immigration program:

Economic Class backlog

Immigration category Persons as of December 15
Agri-Food Pilot Program 747
Atlantic Immigration Pilot Programs 2,998
Canadian Experience Class (EE) 24,675
Canadian Experience Class (No EE) 55
Caring For Children Program 12,539
Federal Self Employed 4,999
Federal Skilled Workers (C-50) 223
Federal Skilled Workers (EE) 54,529
Federal Skilled Workers (Pre C-50) 24
High Medical Needs Program 29
Live-in Caregiver Program 1,780
Provincial/Territorial Nominees (EE) 39,325
Provincial/Territorial Nominees (No EE) 27,421
Quebec Entrepreneur 462
Quebec Investor 14,610
Quebec Self Employed 85
Quebec Skilled Workers 27,048
Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot 992
Skilled Trades (EE) 805
Skilled Trades (No EE) 9
Start-up Business 1,264
TR to PR 20,151
Total Economic Class 234,770

Family Class backlog

PR Category Persons as of December 15
Children & Other Family Class 8,848
FCH-Family relations – H&C 3,465
Parents and Grandparents 38,122
Spouses & Partners 54,863
Total Family Class 105,298

Humanitarian and Compassionate/Public Policy backlog

PR Category Persons as of December 15
HC & PH class-ADM Dependant Person Overseas 70
Humanitarian & Compassionate Straight 17,532
Humanitarian & Compassionate with Risk or Discrimination 8,701
Public Policy Without RAP 1,217
Total Humanitarian & Compassionate / Public Policy 27,520

Permit Holders Class backlog

PR Category Persons as of December 15
Permit Holders Class 24
Total Permit Holders Class 24

Protected Persons backlog

PR Category Persons as of December 15
Blended Visa Office-Referred 42
Dependants Abroad of Protected Persons 23,708
Federal Government-assisted Refugees 40,603
Privately Sponsored Refugees 72,436
Protected Persons Landed In Canada 19,718
Quebec Government-assisted Refugees 1,151
Total Protected Persons 157,658

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