Canada Immigration Backlog Hits 900,000: 2024 Updates

Written by

Mynaz Altaf

Fact check by

Afreen Abbasi

Updated on

Jul 14,2024

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Canada is one of the top choices globally for immigration. It processes a huge number of immigration applications, temporary visa applications, and even citizenship applications on a regular basis. Due to the large number of aspirants who wish to relocate to Canada, the country has a backlog in its application process. 

In this context, ‘backlog’ refers to applications for immigration, temporary visas, or citizenship which take longer than the standard processing time by the government or embassy. 

The most recent data generated by the IRCC shows that Canada has an immigration backlog of about 930,000 applications. 

The backlog situation in Canada has improved significantly from 2022, as presented in the backlog data from December 31, 2023. This is due to a lesser number of temporary resident applications. The backlog for temporary visa applicants itself has been reduced by almost 6 percent as well. This is because the immigration authorities have brought in certain changes in their policies for international students. They have made mandatory the submission of a provincial acceptance letter (PAL) to acquire study permits. They have also taken other measures which aim at reducing the number of international students who come to Canada, for regulatory purposes.

However, the IRCC is still processing almost 2.2 million applications. The backlog is expected to reduce even more as the Canadian provinces have not yet enforced PAL in their jurisdiction.

This backlog significantly affects those who await approvals of their permanent residency applications. Even the applicants who applied through the Express Entry System have been subjected to a long waiting period. Furthermore, the Canadian government has faced criticism for taking so many applications amidst the ongoing housing crisis in Canada. 

The data presented by the IRCC regarding its backlog is summarized as follows.


Backlog as of January 31, 2024

Backlog as of February 29, 2024





Decrease by 1400

Permanent Residency



Decrease by 5000

Temporary Residency



Decrease by 24400




Decrease by 30800


What Has Caused This Backlog?

Canada faced an accumulation in their applications during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there have been other factors that have significantly impacted the immigration processes in Canada, causing this backlog. 

  1. Increase in Demand

Canada’s appeal as a country has grown significantly in the last few years. It provides a lovely quality of life, balance in natural landscapes and skyscrapers, and good wages to the people. Thus, the number of people applying for transfers to Canada has increased tenfold.

  1. Changes in Policies

Canada has had a lot of changes in their immigration policies, which has also impacted the backlog. Additionally, changing geopolitical situations further complicate the process. 

  1. Limited Resources

Limited facilities and staff being in charge of the approval process may be a significant cause of the huge backlog faced by the Canadian authorities. 

  1. Complex System 

Canada has a very complex immigration system. It has many different streams for application, each having different eligibility requirements. This causes complications with the process and results in longer processing periods. 

Implications Of This Backlog

The most obvious effect of this backlog is an indefinite increase in the processing period of the applications. This leads to an environment of insecurity and discomfort among the applicants as they are always at the edge of their seats waiting for an update regarding their applications.

It also creates stress and pressure on the Canadian authorities who are working on this issue. 

The backlog can also impact Canada’s ability to attract job seekers and students. It may also cause problems in retaining the talent living in the country on a temporary visa. This will severely hamper the growth of the country, economically and socially. 

The backlog also significantly affects refugees and asylum seekers who are looking to escape persecution and seek help in Canada. 

Furthermore, it may also impact Canada’s credibility and competitive advantages in the global market.  


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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the backlog of Canada visitor visas 2024?

The current backlog for visitor visas stands at 949,500 as of December 31, 2023.

What is the backlog of the Canada PR process?

According to the latest updates, 12 percent of Express Entry applicants, 27 percent of PNP Entry and 17 percent of spousal and other dependent applicants were in the backlog.

What is the waiting time for a Canada Tourist Visa from India?

For an online application, 27 working days and for a paper based application, 60 working days are required for the visa to be processed.

Will I get an email if my Canada visa is approved?

Yes, once your application is approved, you will receive an email.

How long does it take IRCC to review eligibility?

The standard processing time for this is 6 months or less. However, with the backlog, an unspecified amount of time is being taken.