Canada immigration news: The second phase of a pilot program to help refugees qualify for Canada permanent residence through economic immigration streams is now open for applications.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is aiming to welcome 500 candidates and their families in the new phase of the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP).
It provides special assistance for refugees to qualify through such streams as the Provincial Nominee Program, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, and the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot.
“By focusing on their skills, education, and experience, this pilot helps qualified refugee candidates overcome obstacles and become eligible for Canada’s economic immigration programs,” an IRCC press release said.
In the second phase, new measures include:
- Faster processing of permanent residence applications for EMPP applicants so that, in the majority of cases, they can start work within 6 months of applying.
- Allowing EMPP applicants to use a loan to demonstrate they have settlement funds.
- Waiving fees for permanent residence applications.
- Simplifying the application process by allowing scanned copies of documents.
- Providing pre-departure medical services to assist with immigration medical exams.
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Canada’s most recent Immigration Levels Plan, release in October 2020, targets 59,500 refugee permanent residents in 2021, rising to 60,500 in 2022 and 61,000 in 2023.
The latest figures show 36,860 refugees have became permanent residents in the first nine months of 2021, putting it on track to welcome around 50,000 this year.
Privately-Sponsored Afghan Refugees
Canada welcomed the first group of privately-sponsored Afghan refugees last Thursday, with a plane carrying 250 people landing at Toronto’s Pearson Airport.
The group arrives under Canada’s world-renowned Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program, which sees Canadians or organizations such as faith groups and cultural associations support their arrival in host communities.
The new arrivals are vulnerable Afghan refugees, including ‘women leaders, human rights defenders, persecuted minorities, LGBTI individuals and journalists’, the statement said.
This humanitarian program is running alongside the special immigration program for Afghans who worked for Canada during and after the military mission in Afghanistan.
Overall, Canada has welcomed almost 4,000 Afghan refugees.
How Does Private Sponsorship Work?
Sponsors support refugees by helping them find schools, open a bank account, and covering expenses for food, rent and clothes. Refugees can also access government-funded settlement services.
Since the 1970s, Canada has welcomed 330,000 privately-sponsored refugees.