In January 2016, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) partnered with Catholic Crosscultural Services on a pilot project, known as the Syrian Family Links Initiative. The goal of this initiative was to connect Syrian refugees abroad with private Canadian sponsors through the help of refugees’ families in Canada.
Given the ongoing crisis in Syria, the response by Syrian families in Canada to Family Links has been overwhelming, with 8,025 Syrian refugee family members being registered for sponsorship. Unfortunately, the number of refugees registered far exceeded the number of sponsors available.
As a result, the Syrian Family Links Initiative was discontinued on December 31, 2016, due to the low turn-out of sponsors.
Options for resettling relatives to Canada
With the Syrian Family Links Initiative closed, there are other avenues available to bring Syrian refugee relatives to Canada.
We encourage Syrians in Canada to advise their relatives to register with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the country where they presently live. In addition to providing international protection and assistance, UNHCR may help them to be identified as refugees in need of resettlement to Canada, through either the Government-Assisted Refugees Program or the Blended Visa Office-Referred Program.
Individuals in Turkey should register with government authorities there.
Other immigration programs may also be available to family members, or families in Canada could consider applying directly through the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program.
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