Recent data shows that processing times for refugee claims have increased more than 30% since 2016.
The Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) finalized 15% of 29,828 (4,937) applicants since February, 2017.
Out of those finalized 2,334 claims were accepted as legitimate, while 1,855 were rejected.
In that period of time only a fraction of those rejected have been successfully deported. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) reports that it has deported only 398 rejected individuals since April 2017, while 582 more are being processed for deportation. However, asylum seekers who have had their claims rejected and are now destined for deportation have several options to appeal the decision which can further lengthen the process.
Border crossers expected to wait nearly two years before being processed
Asylum seekers entering Canada across the US border can expect a wait time of 20 months before receiving a final answer, the length of time in September, 2016 was only 14 months.
The Trudeau administration is under increased scrutiny regarding their handling of what many people have called a “border crisis”. On August 14th a letter by Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen was leaked in which he admitted that,
“Without changes to improve efficiency and productivity of the asylum process, wait times and backlogs will only continue to grow. This situation is not sustainable, nor is it fair to the people who need Canada’s protection.”
To deal with rising wait times the federal government invested 72 million to hire 64 new IRB officials.
Border Security Minister said on the decision, “I am confident in the coming months we’ll see an improvement on clearing that backlog and dealing with these matters in a more timely manner.”
The IRB says that the new hires will help reduce the applicant backlog but wait times will not be affected.
Asylum claims do not affect immigration applications
A common misunderstanding of the immigration process is that the growing number of asylum claims are affecting the wait times for immigration applicants. However, as a Government of Canada publication (PDF) shows, applications for immigrants are processed by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada office (IRCC), while the IRB deals with asylum claims.
According to the latest statistics, successful immigrants seeking to enter Canada can expect an average wait time of 6-12 months to be processed.
The growing wait times for asylum seekers, now approaching 2 years, means that Canada is expected to house and support individuals who might otherwise be denied entry until they can be lawfully deported.
The other consequence is that, the federal government is diverting a larger portion of its resources to deal with the problem.