CIMM – Refugees and Resettlement – May 12, 2022
- Canada has a proud humanitarian tradition and commitment to protecting the world’s most vulnerable people.
- Canada’s Refugee Resettlement Program provides permanent protection to refugees located in countries of asylum. In 2022, Canada intends to welcome between 55,000 and 79,500 refugees and protected persons.
- Refugee resettlement to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic was limited by many factors. Resettlement processing is ongoing in all IRCC Migration Offices and IRCC resettled over 9,000 refugees in 2020 and more than 20,000 in 2021.
- My mandate letter includes a commitment to welcome up to 40,000 Afghan refugees to Canada and to expand our dedicated stream for human rights defenders. We are working hard to implement these plans while continuing to resettle other refugee populations and maintaining program integrity.
- Refugees are referred to Canada by designated partner organizations, such as the United Nations Refugee Agency, Front Line Defenders and ProtectDefenders.eu, or identified by a private sponsor. They are then assessed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) migration officers abroad.
- Canada’s Urgent Protection Program provides expedited resettlement to refugees whose life, liberty or safety is threatened.
- Upon arrival to Canada, refugees become permanent residents and, after a period of time, become eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship. They are eligible for settlement program services and are provided immediate and essential services, either through the Resettlement Assistance Program offered by third-party service provider organizations or by private sponsors. These services include temporary accommodation; start-up support; help finding permanent accommodation; income support for one year; referrals to community programs, and other assistance as needed.
Economic pathways for refugees
- As of December 2021, Canada is accepting applications to Phase II of the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot, with a goal of welcoming 500 principal applicants and their family members, bringing skilled refugees from abroad who could help to fill labour shortages in in-demand sectors such as healthcare.
- Over and above Canada’s refugee resettlement programs, the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot supports refugees with in-demand skills with facilitation measures to access existing economic immigration pathways mitigating administrative barriers that refugees typically face.
Human rights defenders
- We have introduced a new stream for human rights defenders at risk that will see the resettlement of up to 250 people each year (human rights defenders and their family members), in addition to our other resettlement commitments. My mandate letter includes a commitment to further expand this stream.
- Under our Afghanistan initiative, referral organizations are also referring Afghan human rights defender cases, over and above the 250 spaces already reserved for this program.
Response to the Venezuelan migrant and refugee crisis
- As of January 2022, more than six million Venezuelan refugees and migrants have fled Venezuela, making it the largest displacement crisis in the hemisphere, and the second largest globally after Syria.
- Together with Global Affairs Canada (GAC), IRCC is providing funding to support host countries in the region. IRCC will provide $3.8M over two years in capacity-building assistance to address the migration and protection needs of Venezuelan refugees and migrants, for example by supporting labour market integration and helping mitigate further irregular migration in the region.
- Canada recognizes the ongoing challenges facing the people of Haiti, including related to a major earthquake and the assassination of President Moïse in 2021. The IRCC office in Port-au-Prince and our Haiti Visa Application Centre (VAC) remain open, offering services to Haitian applicants.
- We have several mechanisms available to assist those who may need to regularize their status in Canada, including on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. Canada’s asylum system remains available to those already in Canada, including Haitian nationals. We have also temporarily deferred the removal of Haitian nationals who do not have the right to remain in Canada.
- There are approximately 25,000 Eritrean refugees residing in camps in the northern Ethiopian region of Tigray that are lacking access to food, medicine and water since conflict erupted in the region in November 2020.
- Canada works closely with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), as the global leader in responding to refugee crises, to identify refugee populations to prioritize for resettlement based on global and individual protection needs.
- In 2019, Eritrea was the top source country for privately sponsored refugees admitted to Canada.
Afghan Sikhs and Hindus
- Canada continues to support religious freedoms both at home and abroad, including in Afghanistan.
- As part of our Afghanistan commitment, Canada will be expediting the resettlement of Afghan religious and ethnic minorities at risk, including Sikhs and Hindus, referred by designated referral partners and private sponsors.
- Canada has established a partnership with the Manmeet Singh Bhullar Foundation, which is also a Sponsorship Agreement Holder, to support the resettlement of hundreds of persecuted Afghan Sikhs and Hindus through the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program.
Uyghurs & Hong Kong residents
- At this time, Canada is not considering any special measures for Uyghurs, but the Government of Canada continues to monitor the plight of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang .
- Canada’s announcement in November 2020 of special measures for Hong Kong residents, particularly students and youth, including an open-work permit and two new pathways to permanent residence, represented a significant expansion in the opportunities for people from Hong Kong to come to Canada.
- Uyghurs and Hong Kong residents who are at risk of persecution and have fled to another country can currently access Canada’s protection through the Refugee Resettlement Program if they are referred by a designated referral organization such as the United Nations Refugee Agency or by Canadian private sponsors.
- Uyghur and Hong Kong human rights defenders that have fled persecution may also be eligible for resettlement to Canada under the human rights defenders stream.
Supporting facts and figures
Resettled refugee admissions
|2021 Admissions Target||2022 Admissions Target||2023 Admissions Target||2024 Admissions Target|
|Blended Visa-Office Referred||51||76||5||1,000||1,000||1,000||1,000|
- Continued high program demand and pandemic-related travel restrictions have both contributed to significant growth in the privately sponsored refugee (PSR) application inventory in recent years.
- The PSR inventory currently sits at over 70,000 applications, with processing times approaching three years.
- The application inventory for government-assisted and Blended Visa-Office Referred refugees is also increasing, which is currently sitting at over 40,000 applications, with processing times of over two years.
- From January to March 2022, a total of 170 government-assisted refugees were admitted to Canada under the Urgent Protection Program.Footnote 1
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