Back in 2004, it took Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) 4.5 years, on average, to process an application for permanent residence under the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) category. By 2008, there were more than 600,000 FSW applicants and their dependents in the system awaiting a decision.
That same year, Canada enacted legislation empowering the Immigration Minister to limit the intake of new applications and by all accounts these measures have had their desired effect. Today, average processing times for FSW category applications submitted since 2008 have been cut in half. As of April 2012 there were just over 135,000 post-2008 FSW applicants and their dependents in the queue.
Seeing as how these newer applications are being refused at a rate of about 50 percent, we can expect that approximately 67,500 people will be receiving visas. Now, consider that the total CIC operational target for the FSW in 2012 is 61,000 visas and you will conclude, as I did, that there is essentially no backlog of FSW applications, except that…
There is still the issue of the FSW applicants who submitted their applications before February 28, 2008. This group includes about 85,000 principal applicants and their dependants, for a total of 280,000 people.
As followers of this blog are aware, the Canadian government has passed legislation that would terminate these older FSW applications and return the government processing fees paid by the applicants. Given the paucity of newer applications, wouldn’t it be more equitable to set aside a certain portion of the FSW quota for pre-2008 applicants? At the end of the day we are not talking about that many people. Some of these individuals have certainly moved on with their lives and are no longer interested in Canadian immigration. Add to this a rejection rate of about 50 percent and the number shrinks even more. We could be talking about 100,000 visas at the end of the process and you would think that number of newcomers could be accommodated over the next 4 or 5 years. However, my guess is that the government won’t process the pre-2008 FSW applications, at least not unless the Federal Court orders them to do so.
We have already filed Class Action proceedings on behalf of about 200 of our clients. If you feel that you may be affected by CIC’s plans to terminate pre-2008 FSW applications and wish to join or learn more about the Class Action court proceedings, please visit the following link: www.canadavisa.com/online/classaction/