Providing timely protection for privately sponsored refugees

In 2017, Canada will welcome 16,000 privately sponsored refugees which more than triples average admissions prior to 2015.

Providing timely protection to privately sponsored refugees is a priority. We are taking steps to reduce wait times and the existing backlog of applications:

  • In 2017, we will limit the number of new applications from Sponsorship Agreement Holders to 7,500.
  • Under a temporary public policy, which is now closed, we limited Groups of Five/Community Sponsor applications for Syrian and Iraqi refugees, who do not have proof of refugee status recognition, to applications for the first 1,000 people.
  • Through our Annual Levels Plan for 2017, we have increased the number of privately sponsored refugee admissions to 16,000 people. This will allow us to welcome more privately sponsored refugees to Canada who are currently waiting in the backlog.

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

Welcome more privately sponsored refugees to Canada 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. Sponsorship Agreement Holders can sponsor refugees from any population including Iraqis and Syrians.

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.

Groups of Five and Community Sponsors must include a proof of refugee status recognition document when they apply to sponsor refugees. However, we know that given the situation in the Middle East that these may be more difficult to get in certain regions.

As a result, a temporary public policy came into effect on December 19, 2016, which allowed Groups of Five and Community Sponsors to apply to sponsor a limited number of Iraqi and Syrian refugees without including this documentation. This temporary public policy applied to applications for the first 1,000 people in these two sponsorship streams only. We have now reached this total and the public policy has ended. Applications received after reaching the limit will be returned. Learn more.

It is important not to confuse the cap on new applications from Groups of Five (G5s) and Community Sponsors (CSs) to sponsor Iraqis and Syrians with the total number of privately sponsored refugees to be welcomed in 2017. G5s and CSs are only two of the available streams through which private sponsorship of Iraqis and Syrians is possible.

Processing of privately sponsored Syrian and Iraqi refugees is continuing and more will arrive in 2017.

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