Government launches second phase of skilled refugee pilot program


Published December 8, 2021 at 11:03 am

OTTAWA — The government has expanded a pilot that allows refugees to apply for permanent residency through conventional economic immigration streams by removing some of the barriers that would traditionally have precluded them.

The minister hopes to see only a six-month window between the date a successful candidate submits their application and the day they can start working in Canada. 

The pilot is an expansion of a 2018 program that aimed to identify 10 to 15 skilled refugees in the Middle East and East Africa who meet the requirements of Canada’s economic immigration programs.

This time, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada hopes to bring 500 skilled refugees to Canada.

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser says the program has been changed based on lessons learned from the previous iteration — for instance, the program waives some of the financial burden of the immigration process.

Opposition Conservative critic Jasraj Hallan says he welcomes the new program, but doubts how effective it will be given a massive backlog of 1.8 million immigration applications he says Canada is currently working through, and long delays people face as they wait to be admitted to the country. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 8, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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