Canadian citizenship for 300,000 people by March 2023, Indians will benefit

Ottawa, Oct 19 (IANS) Canada aims to grant citizenship to 300,000 people in the 2022-2023 fiscal year, a move likely to benefit many Indians.

The memo from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recommends processing a total of 285,000 decisions and 300,000 new citizens by March 31, 2023.

A decision means a review of an application which is then approved, denied or marked as incomplete.

The citizenship target means that 300,000 approved applicants must take the citizenship oath, either in person or virtually.

IRCC also said minors under 18 will be able to apply for citizenship online by the end of the year.

This is a significant increase from the 2021-2022 fiscal year and even exceeds the pre-pandemic targets of 2019-2020, when 253,000 citizenship applications were processed.

In March 2020, IRCC became unable to process most applications due to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. This was because the department could only process paper applications mailed to a central location.

IRCC was unable to conduct interviews with applicants and it was not possible to take the oath at citizenship ceremonies.

So far in fiscal year 2022-23, Canada has welcomed 116,000 new citizens and is on track to meet its target. By comparison, over the same period in 2021, the country had only sworn in 35,000 people.

Although there is no breakdown of the numbers by country, Indians are the first group of immigrants to settle in Canada in 2022.

According to the country’s 2016 reports, Canada is home to some 1.4 million people of Indian descent.

In 2021, nearly 100,000 Indians moved to Canada under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and some 130,000 obtained work permits under the International Mobility Program.

In 2021-2022, more than 210,000 permanent residents also acquired Canadian citizenship.

According to figures released by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), it also issued 450,000 study permit applications. There are over 622,000 international students in Canada, including 217,410 Indians as of December 31, 2021.

As Canada continues to have labor shortages, high levels of Indians can be expected to move to Canada to work and study in the coming years.

With an increase in the number of online applications, in addition to the backlog of paper applications, IRCC is taking steps to eliminate the backlog and process 80% of all new applications within service standards.

To accomplish this, more than 1,000 new employees have been hired and there are plans to expand access to citizenship application status tracking to representatives.

Canada’s immigration backlog remains at 2.6 million people according to new data from IRCC.

In June this year, Indians accounted for more than a quarter of the 2.4 million pending cases, or about 700,000.