Canadian immigration makes changes to refugee program

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Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced last week that Canadian Immigration is proposing changes in the way they process refugee immigrant applications in order to help reduce backlogs and improve processing times.

In order to reduce delays, the changes to the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) Program would require that both the sponsorship application form and the permanent resident application be submitted together to CIC. If both forms are not submitted, CIC will return incomplete applications.

"These proposed changes would result in faster processing times, thereby improving the efficiency of the PSR Program," said Kenney.

As part of Canadian Immigration's Refugee Resettlement Program the following groups may submit applications to sponsor refugees from abroad:
  • private sponsors,
  • Groups of Five (G5s) who are five or more Canadian citizens or permanent residents,
  • Community Sponsors (CSs), which are organizations that have not signed formal agreements with Citizenship and Immigration Canada
The changes would limit G5s and CSs to sponsoring applicants who are recognized as refugees by either the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees or a State.

Sponsors are groups or individuals that commit to providing financial settlement assistance to refugees for one year or until they can support themselves financially, whichever comes first.

Currently, Canadian visa officers review two or more G5 or CS applications for every one they accept. Many applications are refused because they are ineligible. The proposed changes should me that CIC receive fewer, but higher quality applications in the G5 and CS categories. In turn, CIC also expects that this will improve overall processing efficiency, increase the acceptance rate and reduce wait times.

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