Canada’s immigration department is digitizing the application process for paper-based programs.
Some Canadian immigration programs have made the transition from paper-based to an online application process.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) launched an online permanent residence application portal on April 1. The immigration department has digitized the application process for a random selection of permanent residency applicants in the following seven programs:
- Non-Express Entry Provincial Nominee Program (PNP);
- Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot;
- Agri-Food Pilot;
- Atlantic Immigration Pilot;
- Quebec Selected Investor Program;
- Quebec Entrepreneur Program; and
- Quebec Self-Employed Persons Program.
It is still possible to apply for these programs on paper. IRCC will be phasing in this portal under this select group of programs since they have relatively lower intake volumes in comparison to other economic or family streams.
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The immigration department is introducing the portal with a limited group of applicants to integrate the new intake procedure and make improvements where needed. IRCC is also working toward digitizing other paper-based programs.
The online option is an effort for IRCC to give immigration applicants more options to apply for permanent residence. It is also expected to help applicants avoid COVID-related mailing delays.
IRCC told CIC News the department had been developing tools and practices to make the immigration system more efficient since before the pandemic. COVID-19 just accelerated the need for upgrades.
Canada’s immigration minister, Marco Mendicino, had previously said that his vision for the immigration system is for all processes to be virtual and contactless beyond the pandemic.
Since March 2020, Canada has also digitized citizenship tests, and taken citizenship ceremonies online. IRCC also launched an online landing process, which eliminated the need for approved permanent residents to take in-person interviews, in most cases.