CIMM — Advanced Data Analytics to Sort and Help Process Temporary Resident Visa Applications – February 15 & 17, 2022
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is expanding the use of advanced data analytics to sort and help process all temporary resident visa (TRV) applications submitted from outside Canada.
Advanced data analytics helps accelerate IRCC’s work and shorten processing times by identifying routine applications for streamlined processing, such as those from certain clients who have been previously approved to visit Canada in the past 10 years. It also helps to sort and triage non-routine applications to officers based on their level of complexity.
The system assumes a significant portion of clerical or repetitive tasks related to sorting applications, freeing up IRCC officers to focus their attention on assessing applications and making final decisions.
The use of advanced data analytics is part of IRCC’s commitment to improving the experience of its clients, and is expected to assist in managing our increasing volume of TRV applications.
Officers always make the final decision on all applications. The system never refuses or recommends refusing applications – any refusal decision always comes from an officer based on their assessment of the application.
Use of advanced data analytics for TRV applications
At IRCC, advanced data analytics have been used since 2018 to help sort and triage, and make some positive eligibility determinations on TRV applications from China and India due to their high volume of applications. While the system does not make the final decision on an application, it has been shown that routine files can be assessed for eligibility 87% faster using the system, resulting in some applicants receiving decisions more quickly.
When the advanced data analytics system finds a routine application, it can positively determine that an applicant is eligible, before sending the file to an officer to review for inadmissibility such as security and criminality. An officer then makes the final decision on the file.
Rules used by the system to positively determine eligibility also go through an extensive review process for potential discriminatory impacts.
IRCC is working to responsibly develop and deploy data-driven technologies, in line with all privacy requirements.
As part of our compliance with the Treasury Board Directive on Automated Decision-Making, an algorithmic impact assessment has been completed to assess the analytical models used for TRV applications. The assessment has been published on the Open Government website, as required by the Treasury Board Secretariat.
This is the second algorithmic impact assessment that the Department completes. The first was completed in summer 2021 for the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada advanced analytics pilot.
Some previous media and academic articles have incorrectly reported on how IRCC is using advanced analytics, including claims that the technology is replacing officers and automating decisions for humanitarian and compassionate as well as pre-removal risk assessment applications. Some of this attention has centered on IRCC’s use of the Chinook tool. Chinook is a standalone tool that streamlines the administrative steps that would otherwise be required to process applications. No advanced data analytics or artificial intelligence technology was used to build Chinook.