Despite Government Promises and Initiatives, Delays in Processing Time Have Left Many Syrian Refugees Waiting to Resettle in Canada
When the Canadian Government promised to resettle thousands of Syrian refugees during the wake of the Syrian refugee crisis, many Canadians got together, raised money, and worked to help make that a reality. Groups of Canadians have privately sponsored Syrian families, raising enough money to secure housing and ensure a comfortable resettlement in Canada. But delays in application processing have left many refugees stuck overseas even though they have homes, families, and sponsors waiting for them in Canada. For help with refugee sponsorship and navigating the immigration system, contact refugee lawyers.
Increased Processing Times
In 2015, the Canadian Government announced it would welcome 50,000 Syrian refugees through both government and private sponsorships. But as of December 2017, 20,000 sponsorship applications were still in the Immigration Department’s processing backlog. And according to private sponsors, the processing time for these applications has increased, going from 13 months to 19 months.
Many sponsored refugees wind up stuck living in poor conditions in camps, unable to work legally, and at risk of local governments sending them back to Syria. Processing times vary by country and are affected by several factors, including security concerns, establishing identity, and logistical challenges.
Canada’s Immigration Department aims to clear the privately sponsored backlog by the end of 2019. And for new applications submitted after 2019, the department plans to reduce the wait time to around 12 months.
But refugee advocates have accused the government of missing its previous goal to process applications received before March 31, 2016, by early 2017. Advocates also argue there are ongoing problems with a lack of transparency regarding files and trouble getting feedback on applications. So sponsors are unable to find out how long it will be until their sponsored families can arrive in Canada.
Until these applications are processed, many sponsored refugees are stuck waiting, some living in unpleasant conditions while their Canadian sponsors keep their new homes waiting for them. In addition, families who have already settled in Canada keep waiting and worrying about when they will see their loved ones again.
Although local governments overseas are partly to blame for lengthy wait times, the current backlog in Canada’s immigration system doesn’t help either. Until the government is willing to allocate more resources to process applications, more refugees will be stuck waiting for longer, not knowing if or when they will make it to Canada to live a safer, better life in their new homes with their loved ones nearby.
If you need help with a sponsorship application, contact refugee lawyers today.