Canada’s Process to Resettle 25,000 Syrian Refugees

Akre Camp for Syrian refugees from Rojava in Akre (Aqre) town, Dohuk Governorate, Kurdistan Region of Iraq

Working together with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and other nations, Canada is looking for registered individuals who wish to immigrate to Canada. An emphasis is placed on candidates deemed vulnerable, with highest priority going to: complete families, women at risk, and members of the LGBTI community. Refugees who are being privately sponsored are already identified with their information and applications in the hands of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Since November 17, 2015, the UNHCR has been contacting selected individuals who may be interested in resettling in Canada. If interested, they will be directed to go to the nearest UNHCR office where their identity will be verified. Their identity will be verified by their photo registration card and by an iris scan to ensure against fraud. After the individual’s identity has been verified they’ll proceed with an information session, followed by scheduling an interview with a Canadian visa officer.

From there refugees will be sent to one of two processing centers in Amman or Beirut for additional screening. Immigration offices in Turkey will also see an increase in their visa processing capabilities. Over 500 government officials have been sent to assist in the processing. Since the immigration processing will be completed entirely overseas, it requires very in-depth screening such as:

  • Security screening by comparing the individual’s biographical and biometric information with immigration, law enforcement, and security databases.
  • Full medical exam including screening for communicable diseases such as tuberculosis.
  • Criminal history screening in collaboration with Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA).

After successfully completing the screening process, selected refugees will be granted permanent resident visas. They will have to confirm their identity prior to leaving for Canada by the CBSA and again by Border Services Officers once they enter.


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