If you are one of the many people who have applied for immigration to Canada, you may be wondering about the status of your application and who is processing it. Also you are wondering why your application is on hold. You may have received a confirmation letter or email from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) with a code that identifies your immigration officer or placeholder code. But what does that code mean, and how can you find out if it is active or inactive?
What are inactive users?
Inactive users are codes that represent former employees or computer placeholders that are no longer working within IRCC’s Global Case Management System (GCMS). GCMS is the worldwide internal system using by IRCC to process citizenship and immigration applications. They record their observations in GCMS Notes.
According to IRCC data obtained by CBC News through an Access to Information Act request, as of February 2022, there were 779 inactive users on GCMS, with 59,456 open, pending or re-opened applications assigned to them. Some of these inactive users last logged in and processed files up to 16 years ago, and some are from airports and visa offices around the world.
IRCC says that it reuses old codes and uses them as placeholder bins, where applications wait for the next stage in processing. For example, some applications may be assigned to a placeholder code while they are waiting for a security check or a medical exam. IRCC says that this is part of its triage strategy and that it helps to manage the workload and prioritize applications.
However, some immigration experts and applicants have raised concerns about this practice, saying that it creates confusion, delays and lack of transparency. They say that assigning applications to inactive users may give applicants false hope or misleading information about their status. They also say that it may prevent applicants from contacting their immigration officer or requesting updates on their file.
How to check if your Canada Immigration Application is assigned to an inactive user?
If you want to check if your application is assigned to an inactive user, you can follow these steps:
- Find your confirmation letter or email from IRCC that contains your Canada Immigration Application number and your immigration officer or placeholder code. The code usually consists of a mix of letters and numbers (like AB12345, for example).
- Go to the IRCC website and log in to your online account or use the online tool to check your application status.
- Enter your application number and other personal information as required.
- Look for the section that says “We are processing your application” or “Your application is in progress”. There you should see the name of the office where your application is being processed and the code of your immigration officer or placeholder code.
- Compare the code you see online with the code you received in your confirmation letter or email. If they match, then your application is assigned to that code. If they do not match, then your application may have been transferred to another office or officer.
- If you want to find out if the code you see online is active or inactive, you can use the IRCC data obtained by CBC News through this link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/ircc-immigration-officer-container-placeholder-code-inactive-list-1.6669571
- On the webpage, scroll down until you see a table with four columns: Code, Location, Last Login Date and Number of Applications Assigned.
- Use the search function on the top right corner of the table to enter the code you see online.
- If you find the code on the table, then it means that it is an inactive user according to IRCC data as of February 2022. You can also see when it last logged in and how many applications are assigned to it.
- If you do not find the code on the table, then it means that it is not an inactive user according to IRCC data as of February 2022. It may be an active employee or a new placeholder code.
What to do if your application is assigned to an inactive user?
If you find out that your application is assigned to an inactive user, you may be wondering what to do next. Here are some possible options:
- Contact IRCC through their web form or call center and ask for an update on your application status. You can also request to speak to a supervisor or escalate your case if you have urgent or compelling reasons.
- Contact your local MP or senator and ask for their assistance in following up with IRCC on your behalf.