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 existing backlog of applications:

  • 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 welcome more refugees to Canada who are currently waiting in the backlog.
  • We will limit the number of new applications from Sponsorship Agreement Holders in 2017.
  • Under a temporary public policy, we will limit Groups of five/community sponsor applications for Syrian and Iraqi refugees, who do not have a proof of refugee status recognition to applications for the first 1,000 people. Note: This public policy is now closed. Learn more.

These steps are needed to help us reach our goal to eliminate the backlog by 2019 and reduce wait times for new applications to about 12 months.

The annual Immigration Levels Plan determines the number of people Canada will allow to immigrate in any given year. This includes refugees. The backlog grew because there were no limits on the number of applications that could be submitted. As a result, we received more applications annually for privately sponsored refugees than we could bring to Canada in a given year. There are currently more than 45,000 people who are waiting 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 the number admitted in 2015 and preceding years. There will be substantially more privately sponsored refugees in particular, from 4,500 admissions in 2014 to 16,000 planned admissions 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.

Unlike previous years, 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 Syrian and Iraqi refugees. 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 on December 19, 2016, limiting the number of new Syrian and Iraqi applications to the first 1,000 people submitted by Groups of Five and Community Sponsors.

We have now reached the number of applications allowed under the public policy.  Applications received after reaching the limit will be returned. Learn more.

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