Thousands of Syrian refugees in the process of coming to Canada from Turkey will have their moves delayed by the failed coup in the country.
Turkish officials have launched a huge crackdown led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan following the attempted takeover, making securing exit permits for stranded Syrians even more difficult than previously.
Turkey had already proven difficult to work with as Canada’s Liberal government went about its plan to bring in 25,000 Syrians between November and February (the total is now 28,876).
But further instability will only make it worse, according to a spokesperson for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
There are currently 549 refugees in Turkey who have secured places in Canada and are just waiting to travel. A further 3,815 have applications in process, the IRCC’s website says.
Among them are several members of the Yazidi tribe, who are currently the subject of discussions among Canadian MPs having suffered appalling abuses at the hands of ISIS which the United Nations recently classed as genocide.
Even before the attempted coup, the processing time for refugee applications from Turkey was said to be around eight months.
The issues arise out of the fact that Turkey manages its 2.7 million Syrian refugees itself, while in other countries the job is taken by the UN refugee agency.
There is also the issue of resettling Yazidis still in Iraq, who are not officially classed as refugees. The waiting time for those applications is put at four years.
Immigration Minister John McCallum says Canada is working to streamline the process for bringing in refugees following an unprecedented level of support from private sponsors.
He says he is the only person in his job in the world who faces criticism for not bringing in refugees fast enough.
The Liberals have also faced criticism for the process it has put in place for welcoming refugees, with sponsors still lining up to take in and support Syrian families.
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