A new way forward for some immigration application processing times

News release

Ottawa, August 9, 2018 At Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), we know that applying to immigrate to Canada is a life changing event, and we understand how frustrating it can be when applications take longer than expected. That’s why we have made changes to improve the experience for some permanent resident clients.

Now, clients will have a more accurate idea of how long processing of their immigration application may take for several permanent resident business lines.

On July 31, 2018, IRCC began using an improved method to estimate processing times for some new permanent residence applications. The processing times are projected, and tell applicants how long we expect most applications to take under normal circumstances if submitted today.

With this change in effect, we are able to better estimate how long some new permanent residence applications will take based on several factors, including the number of current applications waiting to be processed and the volume of admissions allowed each year under the multi-year immigration levels plan.

Over the past few years, IRCC has made significant progress in reducing processing times and inventories across many permanent resident categories, all the while meeting the ever-increasing demand for visitor visas, and work and study permits. This client service improvement was made possible by the multi-year increase in immigration levels which allowed for advance planning, along with implementing intake controls in some categories and using innovative new processes in our offices in Canada and abroad.

Previously, all permanent residence application processing times were only historical and showed how long it took to process 80% of applications in the past year. While these historical times are accurate for most applications that are currently being processed, we anticipate that the new method for projecting processing times will provide more accurate estimates for clients.

IRCC continues to move towards an increasingly integrated and modernized working environment to more efficiently process immigration applications, provide the greatest value for money for taxpayers, and improve service to clients. We are carefully monitoring processing times and will make further changes to other lines of business if deemed necessary.


Improving the service experience of IRCC clients has been a significant point of focus for my department in recent years. This update is an important one to ensure our immigration processing times are as accurate as possible and to help clients better prepare to move to Canada if their application is approved”.

– The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Quick facts

  • The new projected processing times will apply to applications received on or after July 31, 2018 in these business lines:

    • Sponsoring a family member
      • Parents and Grandparents
    • Economic Class
      • Provincial Nominees (Non-Express Entry)
      • Skilled Workers (Quebec)
      • Start-Up Visa
    • Humanitarian and compassionate cases
  • It should be noted that for clients who have already applied, withdrawing an application and re-applying will not result in faster processing times:

    • Any application processing already complete would become null and void and clients would have to submit a new application.
    • For some types of applications, such as Express Entry and Parents and Grandparents, a client who withdraws their application runs the risk of not receiving a subsequent invitation to apply or invitation to sponsor.

Associated links


Contacts for media only

Mathieu Genest
Minister’s Office
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Media Relations
Communications Branch
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

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