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Overcoming IRCC Online Portal Challenges in Canada

The IRCC's online portal for Canadian immigration has been marred by system errors, missing documents, and prolonged processing times, causing frustration.

Overcoming IRCC Online Portal Challenges in Canada

The Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) online portal has become the go-to platform for individuals seeking Canadian permanent residence. However, as the digital age progresses, so do the challenges. In this blog, we delve into the frustrations experienced by applicants, including system errors, missing documents, prolonged processing times, and unexpected policy changes within the Start-up Visa (SUV) program.

Online Portal System Errors and Missing Documents

SuperVisas has been actively assisting applicants with their Canadian permanent residence applications since the introduction of IRCC's new online portal in June. However, amid the convenience of digital filing, three distinct incidents have emerged. Applicants received notices indicating missing documents, despite having successfully uploaded them. This was evident as the portal allowed the download of the submitted application package.

Regrettably, these incidents led to the unfortunate consequences of either returning the applications or facing processing delays of up to four months. These errors not only prolonged decision wait times but also introduced unnecessary uncertainty and frustration into an already intricate application process.

New Concerns Arise in The Start-up Visa Program

Since October 14, 2022, IRCC has mandated online submissions for all Start-up Visa applications. While this transition aims to streamline the process, concerns have emerged regarding system errors potentially affecting more foreign entrepreneurs and immigrants. This raises questions about the portal's robustness and the urgent need for improved user experience and error detection mechanisms.

Processing Times are Increasing

One of the most concerning aspects of the SUV program is the increasing processing times. In its early years, the program prided itself on a relatively swift processing time of around 12 months before 2019. However, as of 2023, applicants now face a staggering 37-month processing period. Foreign entrepreneurs endure not only prolonged waiting periods but also grapple with uncertainties and online.

Unexpected Changes on Work Permits

The SUV program includes an optional work permit, allowing foreign entrepreneurs to initiate business activities in Canada while awaiting permanent residence. In May of this year, the Canadian government implemented sudden and significant changes to the work permit requirements, taking many applicants by surprise.

These changes included demanding proof of sufficient company investment and requiring permanent residence applications for all team members before any could apply for a work permit. More distressingly, these policy changes were retroactively applied to applicants who were unaware of the new requirements and had already submitted their applications.

This had a particularly adverse impact on our clients from Nigeria, who were already dealing with extended processing times. Their work permit applications were abruptly rejected after patiently awaiting a decision for over 10 months, without any explanation. They now face an additional year in their visa application process, all the while concerned about the possibility of further undisclosed changes.

To conclude

The Start-up Visa program was established to attract foreign entrepreneurs to Canada, aiming to contribute to its economic growth and innovation. However, recent experiences highlight a series of challenges that have left many applicants disheartened and disillusioned.

From system errors in the application portal to sudden policy changes without prior notice, applicants are increasingly frustrated. Addressing these issues and improving the user experience is vital to ensure that the IRCC online portal remains a reliable and efficient platform for prospective Canadian immigrants.

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Jie Chen
Co-founder & Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC, R#707585)Jie Chen
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