Canada may consider dropping eligibility criteria for thousands to reduce visa backlog.

Canada may consider tougher measures to reduce its growing immigration backlog, including waiving eligibility requirements for nearly half a million visitor visas, The Globe and Mail reported, citing a policy memo. Is.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is set to take “aggressive action” to significantly reduce the backlog of visitor visa applications by February, a draft document from December showed.

According to the memo, IRCC has two options to reduce the number of visitor visa applications. Under the first, it aims to process a bulk of an estimated 195,000 applications. This may include a large number of tourists from countries that require a visa to visit Canada.

Under the second option, Canada would waive some eligibility requirements for about 450,000 applicants. By exempting entry rules, foreign nationals will not have to prove that they will leave Canada when their visa expires.

Visitors will still be subject to eligibility checks. For example, it ensures that applicants are not a threat to national security.

In a statement, Canadian Immigration Minister Sean Fraser did not address any issues related to the policy memo or the proposed changes.

“Canada is now processing visitor visa applications faster than before this pandemic,” he said. He said more than 260,000 visitor visas were processed in November, compared to a monthly average of 180,000 in 2019.

“Despite the progress we’ve seen, there’s still a lot of work to do to meet pre-pandemic processing timelines,” Fraser added.

The number of applicants in IRCC’s inventory fell from about 2.2 million to just 2.1 million during December. As of early December, the system had more than 700,000 Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) applications.

“We’re actually moving cases out of our system faster than they’re coming in, which gives me confidence that we’re getting back on track,” Fraser said at a news conference in December.

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