The IRCC’s New Automation Tools to process PGWP and Work Permits

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The PGWP and Work permit

The Post Graduate Work Program (PGWP) allows recently graduated students from designated learning institutions (DLIs) to obtain an Open Work permit and gain Canadian work experience. This can help them qualify for permanent residence through the Canadian experience class down the line.

The Canadian Work permit allows foreign workers to work in Canada, subject to the conditions of their permit. This usually comes in two forms: an Employer-specific permit that allows workers to only work for a specific Canadian employer and an Open work permit that allows workers to work for a broader range of employers in Canada.

Automation and the need for faster processing times

Faster and more efficient processing times are required to tackle the large number of backlogs in the IRCC’s inventory.

The IRCC’s inventory contains applications that are yet to be finalized. The Backlog refers to applications in this inventory that have exceeded their service standards or have not been processed on time. The accumulation of backlogs leads to a drop in servicing standards across all programs.

According to the IRCC, there are currently 844,700 applications in Backlog out of 2,198,700 total applications.

Function of the IRCC Automation tools

The IRCC’s automation tools will fulfill the triage function to sort applications based on the legislative and regulatory criteria of the program. These applications will then be directed to immigration officers for further review.This will help sort applications by priority and allow officers to focus more on decision-making when processing applications.

The eligibility function of the automation tool identifies if an application is eligiblefor a work permit extension or the Post Graduate Work Program (PGWP). After reviewing their file, An officer makes the final decision on an applicant’s admissibility to Canada.

How the Automation tool for PGWP and Work permit processing works

The automated system assesses application data elements and provides automated positive responses if the application meets legislative and regulatory requirements. The system indicates the need for a manual review in cases where the application does not meet the requirement.

However, only an IRCC official can refuse an application. The automated tool cannot refuse or recommend the refusal of applications.

What is the Algorithmic Impact Assessment (AIA)?

The Algorithmic Impact Assessment is a mandatory risk assessment tool to support the Treasury Board’s Directive on Automated Decision-making.

It comprises a questionnaire and a score at the end that determines the impact of an automated decision-making system. The Impact level based on scores are as follows:

Impact Level Score Percentage
Level 1Little or no impact0-25%
Level 2Moderate26-50%
Level 3High51-75%
Level 4Very high impact76-100%


Impact levels of the Automation systems for PGWP and Work Permit

The Algorithmic Impact Assessment categorized the impact level of the automated system atLevel 2 or ‘Moderate.’

Fears and checks on possible risks

As with all automated tasks, there are legitimate fears that the process could unknowingly bias specific candidates or threaten the privacy of candidates.

To mitigate such fears, the systems have a built-in review process to check for possible discriminatory impacts along with privacy and security concerns.Immigration officers also have the ability to overturn any decision made by the tool if required.

Janggoulal Sitlhou

Janggoulal Sitlhou

Janggoulal Sitlhou is a content writer with SettleCanada. He is a Political Sciences graduate and a keen follower of international affairs and contemporary history. He has a background in publishing and regularly dabbles in writing and game development projects. Janggoulal currently writes on issues related to Canadian Immigration.