Providing timely protection for privately sponsored refugees

Providing timely protection to privately sponsored refugees is a priority. Steps are being taken to reduce wait times and reduce the backlog:

  • Through our Annual Levels Plan for 2017, we have increased the number of privately sponsored refugee admissions. The new level for privately sponsored refugees is more than in recent years and this will allow us to process more applicants in the backlog.
  • We will limit the number of new applications from Sponsorship Agreement Holders in 2017
  • We will limit Groups of five/community sponsor applications for Iraqi and Syrian refugees

Our goal is to eliminate the backlog by 2019 and reduce wait times for new applications to about 12 months.

The backlog grew because we received more applications for privately sponsored refugees than we have space in our annual immigration plan, which limits the number of people Canada will allow to immigrate in any given year. There are currently more than 45,000 refugees who are waiting for their applications to be processed and some have been waiting years.

Welcome more privately sponsored refugees to Canada in 2017

In 2017, we will welcome one of the highest numbers of refugees and protected persons in Canadian history. While 2016 was an unprecedented year, planned admissions for resettled refugees in 2017 are double those in 2015 and preceding years. There will be substantially more privately sponsored refugees in particular, from 4,500 in 2014 to 16,000 in 2017.

Sponsorship Agreement Holders

Since 2012, the department has put caps or limits on the number of new applications that Sponsorship Agreement Holders can submit each year. In 2017, the cap on the number of new applications is 7,500 persons.

There are no restrictions on which missions can receive applications.

Groups of Five/Community sponsor applications for Iraqi and Syrian refugees

Over the past year, Canada has been overwhelmed with the generosity of Canadians who want to sponsor refugees out of Iraq and Syria. To ensure refugees’ successful integration, we need to manage how many we bring into Canada while avoiding a growing backlog.

As a result, a public policy came into effect in December 2016 limiting the number of Syrian and Iraqi applications to 1,000 people for Groups of five and community sponsors.

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