Automation tools to improve processing for work permit extensions and PGWPs

Ottawa, September 26, 2023—Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is expanding its use of proven automation technologies to process work permit extensions and post-graduation work permits (PGWPs) more efficiently. New automated tools will be used to help process work permit extensions and PGWP applications according to their complexity, which will help enable quicker decisions for some applicants.

Automated tools are part of IRCC’s commitment to using technology responsibly to build a stronger immigration system for the benefit of all of our clients. Our tools are reviewed routinely to make sure they work as intended and that the results are consistent with applications that receive a full human review. Only an IRCC officer can refuse an application; the automated tools do not refuse or recommend refusing applications.

Sorting and assigning applications to IRCC officers

The triage function of the tools takes on most clerical and repetitive tasks related to sorting applications, allowing officers to focus their attention on assessing applications and making final decisions. The tools sort applications using rules developed by IRCC officers based on the legislative and regulatory criteria for the program. Files are directed to the correct officers for further processing based on office capabilities and officer expertise.

Assessing applications for eligibility

The eligibility function of the tools identifies routine applications for streamlined processing, accelerating our work. When reviewing an application, the tools assess whether it is a routine case and can determine that an applicant is eligible for a work permit extension or PGWP using criteria developed by IRCC officers. The file is then sent to an officer to determine if the applicant remains admissible to Canada and make the final decision. Applications that do not have their eligibility approved automatically may still be manually approved following review by an officer.

IRCC is committed to responsibly developing and deploying data-driven technologies in line with privacy requirements and human rights protection. As part of this work and building on Canada’s Treasury Board Directive on Automated Decision-Making, an algorithmic impact assessment (AIA) has been completed to assess the tools used for work permit extensions and PGWP applications. The AIA categorized the impact level of the systems as moderate, and numerous measures are in place to mitigate possible risks. These measures include a review for potential discriminatory impacts, privacy and security elements built into the design of the tools, and the ability of officers to overturn the decision of the tools.

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