On October 16, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) released an update to the algorithmic impact assessment (AIA) of automated technologies to expedite the processing of in-Canada work permit applications.
This will be accomplished through the use of two automation technologies, one for Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWPs) and the other for all other in-Canada work permit applications.
These automated technologies are comparable to those used by the IRCC to process visitor records (visitor extensions), in-Canada spousal and common-law sponsorship, temporary residence visas (TRVs), and privately sponsored refugee applications.
As a result, this is an expansion of IRCC’s use of proven automation technology to expedite the processing of work permits and post-graduation work permits (PGWPs).
What is the operation of these automation tools?
Each automation tool categorizes applications based on their complexity and identifies routine applications for accelerated processing.
Client data is subjected to a quality evaluation to uncover defects such as incompleteness, outdatedness, inconsistency, trustworthiness, and missing values.
The tools rigorously test their rules to guarantee that they are sensible, relevant, and devoid of prejudice.
Data is delivered directly to the Global Case Management System (GCMS) for routine applications that get an automated positive eligibility determination.
To avoid having processing officers search GCMS for this information, an Excel spreadsheet including the triage result for each application as well as critical details that officers evaluate during the decision-making process is sent with all applications.
Officers do not simply review the spreadsheet data. They continue to go over all relevant information in the application and its related materials in order to make an informed decision.
The triage result and other data are displayed in the spreadsheet in an impartial manner to avoid influencing officers’ decisions.
Officers are thoroughly trained on how to use the output, but it should never be used in place of their personal, individual review of each application.
The tools will scan accessible information faster and summarize the results for decision-makers.
The tools, however, will merely automate eligibility approvals; they will not make or suggest decisions on ineligibility. As a result, the instruments have no negative consequences.
What about work permit applications that are more complex?
When automated technologies are rated routine for rapid processing, they can only determine an applicant’s eligibility.
More complex applications, on the other hand, are assigned to officers for routine manual processing and decision-making.
The tools can only establish positive eligibility for normal applications; they cannot determine negative eligibility or propose rejection.
The tools do not review applications for admissibility, but known concerns with admissibility are used as part of the triage process to ensure that complex applications are rapidly routed to officers who are prepared to evaluate them.
Officers are still responsible for completing all admissibility examinations, and they must evaluate all pertinent file material, including that contained in supplemental papers, while processing applications.
Officials, according to the IRCC, will have the final say in all application decisions.
AI or Artificial Intelligence is not used
According to the AIA, each application is still evaluated independently. Machine learning or artificial intelligence were not used to construct these automated tools.
They exclusively rely on IRCC regulations based on program eligibility and admissibility conditions.
Officers are taught to make decisions regardless of the outcomes of triage. Furthermore, the user manual states unequivocally that the triage bins are administrative categories designed to simplify processing and do not provide any advice regarding the applicant’s risk level.
These processes limit the likelihood that the tools’ results may unjustly affect officers (a phenomenon known as “automation bias”).
The IRCC has implemented a continual quality assurance system to ensure that officers and instruments are determining eligibility in the same efficient manner. This technique ensures that no biases are introduced by the instruments.
As an added safeguard, these automated systems go through a rigorous review procedure for their criteria.
Senior executives, legal, policy, and data science professionals, as well as experienced officers, review rules before and after they are made public to ensure they are fair, reasonable, and clear, and that they follow the guidelines for who is eligible.
Regular monitoring and quality assurance methods are also helpful for making sure that the tools do what they are supposed to do and that any unwanted side effects, like bias or discrimination, are found and fixed quickly.
However, in order to maintain the integrity of the immigration system, the rules of these automated tools will not be made public.
Why is it necessary to use automated tools?
The main reason IRCC is now employing automation techniques is the ‘existing backlog of work or cases.’
Furthermore, IRCC intends to apply novel ways to speed application processing and “facilitate more efficient use of IRCC resources in application processing, assist in managing the growing volume of applications, and improve processing times.”
As a result of more efficient processing, applicants will largely benefit from faster decisions.
Additionally, firms will gain from the increased availability of immigrant workers.
When ordinary applications are automatically confirmed to be eligible, IRCC officers will eventually have more time to focus on other cases, resulting in more efficient processing of all applications.
What types of information does the IRCC typically process?
The AIA also gives information on the types of input data often processed by the Immigration Department, namely information directly submitted by applicants via their applications and any supporting documentation they submit.
This could be medical data from the panel physician who conducts the applicant’s immigration medical examination.
Individuals who have been submitted to examination at a port of entry or are being investigated at an inland office are the subjects of enforcement records from the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA).
Furthermore, Canada Immigration receives information regarding people whose entry into Canada could threaten Canadian security from law enforcement and investigative agencies working both domestically and internationally.
Canada also receives supplementary information from other countries, especially the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, to aid in decision-making.
This data is utilized to assist in the identification of foreign individuals and to collect previously unknown information about clients.