Advanced data analytics to help IRCC officers sort and process temporary resident visa applications

Ottawa, January 24, 2022—Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is creating new efficiencies in its temporary resident visa (TRV) application process by expanding the use of advanced data analytics, which will now help IRCC officers sort and process all TRV applications submitted from outside Canada. IRCC officers will continue to make the final decision on all applications, and only an IRCC officer can refuse an application. The system never refuses or recommends refusing applications.

The use of advanced data analytics is part of IRCC’s commitment to finding new ways to improve our client service and processes. It is expected to assist in managing IRCC’s increasing volume of TRV applications. The analytics system helps to accelerate IRCC’s work 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 can also create efficiencies by sorting and triaging non-routine applications to officers based on their level of complexity. When the advanced data analytics system finds a routine application, it can determine that an applicant is eligible, but will never refuse an application. It will always send the file to an officer to determine if the applicant is admissible to Canada and make the final decision.

At IRCC, advanced data analytics has been used since 2018 to help sort and process more than 1 million TRV applications from countries where there is a high volume of applications. During this time, it has been shown that routine files can be assessed 87% faster using the system. This results in some applicants receiving decisions more quickly. In addition, the technology assumes a significant portion of clerical and repetitive tasks related to sorting applications, which allows IRCC officers to focus their attention on assessing applications and making final decisions.

IRCC is working to responsibly develop and deploy data-driven technologies in line with all privacy requirements. As part of our compliance with Canada’s Treasury Board Directive on Automated Decision-Making, an algorithmic impact assessment (AIA) has been completed to assess the analytical models used for TRV applications. The AIA categorized the impact level of the system as moderate, and numerous measures are in place to mitigate possible risk. These measures include an extensive review process for potential discriminatory impacts, privacy and security elements built into the design of the system, and the ability of officers to overturn an eligibility determination.

For more information on IRCC’s use of advanced data analytics, visit our digital transparency page.

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