Canada welcomed 471,550 new permanent residents in 2023, exceeding the immigration levels plan set by the Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The large number immediately implies that the IRCC must deal with hundreds of thousands of new applications for permanent residence every year.

This is besides word and study permit applications allowed in the calendar year. However, only eligible applicants get to receive permanent residence, and millions more are denied for not meeting the requirements. Here’s an overview of how the IRCC processes permanent residence applications every year:

Before You Apply for Permanent Residence

If you’re looking to become a permanent resident in Canada, it’s important to review the process leading up to your application. Most permanent residence programs in Canada use a candidate-applicant system. This simply means that newcomers are required to submit a candidate profile to the IRCC.

If you qualify, you can receive an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residence. Existing programs include the Express Entry managed programs, Provincial Nominee Programs, and other economic programs. Once you receive an ITA, the IRCC can begin processing your application. For instance, the Express Entry managed programs can be broken down into the following steps:

  • Submitting a candidate profile to the Express Entry pool
  • Receiving an invitation to apply from the IRCC
  • Applying for permanent residence within 60 days of receiving an ITA

IRCC Permanent Residence Application Processing

The IRCC follows specific steps to process permanent residence applications. Everything begins when you submit your permanent residence application. As mentioned above, this is only possible once you receive your ITA after submitting a public profile. The permanent residence application processing can be broken down into the following steps:

1. Receiving Applications

The IRCC receives hundreds of thousands of applications from newcomers looking to become permanent residents in Canada. These applications come from those who’ve received an invitation to apply from the IRCC. Once the application is received, the IRCC creates a file in the Global Case Management System (GCMS) department.

2. Verification and Document Preparation

During the verification process, the immigration department will verify if all the required documents have been submitted. This includes the police certificate, proof of funds, and other documents. The department will also prepare the documents needed for the next step, which involves determining if you’re eligible for a permanent residence application.

If a document is missing or the application is incomplete, the IRCC will return the application, so you can make a new submission. However, this option is not available for Express Entry managed programs like the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP). In such cases, your application will be rejected and your fees will be refunded, implying you must restart the process.

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