Canada on Friday announced three new initiatives to welcome and support more refugees as the world is facing a refugee crisis.
The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced the new initiatives following a meeting between Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and UNHCR’s representative in Canada, Rema Jamous Imseis.
“This year’s World Refugee Day comes at a challenging time, because the pandemic has made the situation worse. That’s why Canada is redoubling its efforts to welcome refugees. When others close their doors, we keep them open. We will keep looking for new ways to support and welcome refugees, because offering refuge to the world’s most vulnerable speaks to who we are as Canadians,” Minister Mendicino said.
The new initiatives include Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot, Protected persons in Canada, and Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program.
In a bid to help settle 500 refugees and their families through Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP), Minister Mendicino on Friday announced a new policy and new measures which will improve the program by expediting the processing of permanent residence applications for EMPP applicants in several streams, so they can start working and contributing faster.
The new measures will also make it easier for refugees under EMPP to get settlement funds, waive fees for permanent residence applications, make the application process more flexible, and provide pre-departure medical services to assist with immigration medical exams.
In regards to the Protected Persons in Canada initiative, IRCC said Canada will increase the number of protected persons to be welcomed this year from 23,500 to 45,000.
“Currently, there are over 40,000 protected persons and their dependents residing in Canada with open permanent residence applications,” IRCC said, adding that “In 2021, almost 17,900 protected persons became permanent residents, according to IRCC.”
Meanwhile, IRCC said efforts are underway to strengthen the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program and a national call for proposals has been launched to improve existing pre- and post-arrival support services for private sponsors and ensure refugees take full advantage of the assistance offered to them.
As a result of this process, up to $3 million over 2 years will be invested in supporting 9 organizations, IRCC said.