The Canadian government is planning a complete overhaul and modernization of how Canada processes immigration applications. An anticipated increase in demand for Canadian immigration as COVID-19 travel restrictions are lifted appears to be the motivating factor for the new tender.
“When travel restrictions begin to ease, a significant surge of applications and support requirements is anticipated, putting tremendous demand on our global operations and supporting branches,” the tender request says.
The tender outlines two overarching goals of the project to modernize Canada’s immigration system. The first is to develop new tools that can optimize the immigration process for applicants, and maximize the productivity of staff who process applications. The second goal is to find new solutions that allow staff to conduct their jobs while also allowing them to adhere to social distancing rules.
Aging computer systems, paper applications, and in-person interviews are among the things that must be adapted for the “new normal” after COVID-19, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) said in a tender posted to the government’s procurement website and marked “urgent.”
There are already signs that IRCC is adapting to the “new normal” with talk of virtual citizenship ceremonies in the works.
The government is also looking to improve and enhance services offered by Visa Application Centres (VACs) as they gradually reopen as well. Some of the planned improvements in service are:
Establishing permanent, temporary and pop-up (temporary, one-time point of service) VAC facilities to provide a broad network of access points;
Offering mobile services to applicants willing to pay for the convenience of submitting their application and/or biometrics at their location; and
Sharing VAC facilities, staff, and services with partner countries to further expand the offering.
Canada saw both temporary and permanent immigration to Canada decrease significantly in March. There are serious concerns that Canada’s immigrant fueled economic growth could be at risk. The possibility of a 50% reduction in the number of Canadian permanent residents admitted in 2020 means Canada needs to better position itself to meet immigration targets.