Last Updated on October 13, 2016
Canadian groups wanting to sponsor refugees will be given the chance to swap their allocated Syrian families for those who are ready to come.
Private sponsors have been frustrated by significant delays in bringing in Syrians, with Canadians left lining up to help but with refugees not able to be processed quickly enough.
Immigration officials say there is little they can do to avoid such a backlog, although the process has taught them a lot about how to work more quickly and efficiently.
Now sponsoring groups are left with the dilemma of whether to stick with the families they have been waiting for – sometimes for a year or more – or switch to people who have their bags packed and are ready to arrive.
In Numbers: Canada’s Push to Welcome Refugees Since October
|Blended visa-office referred||2,918|
A leader of one of the foremost groups privately sponsoring Syrian refugees recently described the process as ‘flawed’.
Patricia Paul-Carson, the co-chair of the Syrian Refugee Sub Group at the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa, says there are issues with the way refugees are allocated, the forms they need to fill out, a lack of clarity on when they will arrive and the vast difference in treatment between government and privately-sponsored subjects.
Canada plans to welcome a new wave of 6,000 government-sponsored immigrants between now and the end of 2016.
More than 30,000 have already been brought in since the Liberals came to power last fall. They come in under three different categories: government-sponsored, privately-sponsored and a blended visa office referred group which is part-government, part-private.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada are asking for further patience from sponsors as the system of offering replacements is established.
They say groups who submitted applications between January and March will be contacted directly if their assigned refugees have been refused or are expected to be significantly delayed. The process of finding replacements is expected to take a ‘few months’, the department said.
The attitude of Canadians is in stark contrast to the majority of the world, where the welcoming of refugees has been at the forefront of the rise of nationalist politicians in the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany.
Several polls highlight the positive mindset of Canadians, although they are clear that the proper security checks should be made before new refugees are brought in.
Meanwhile, documents showed recently that the previous Conservative government was guilty of blocking the required rule changes for bringing in refugees.
Canada could have welcome Syrians sooner had the previous administration not twice blocked a move to change how refugees were categorized to allow them to come in faster.
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