Canada has the tools to boost number of refugees

HAMILTON, November 11, 2015:By redirecting resources and streamlining the processes that govern refugee admissions to Canada, the federal government can and should dramatically increase the number of refugees admitted, says a McMaster University expert.

"It is time for our politicians to take some risks and exercise some leadership to allow the immigration department and our dedicated visa officers the opportunity to undertake the heroic efforts that will be needed to help admit more refugees," says Satzewich, a Professor of Sociology who specializes in international migration.

Satzewich is available for ongoing coverage of Canada's effort to hasten the admission of Syrian refugees.

He identifies three major changes required to resolve the current refugee bottleneck, as the new federal government works to admit 25,000 Syrian refugees this year:

- Reorganize overseas visa offices. Only a handful of visa offices and officers currently process refugee applications. Most resources are directed to visitor visa, family class and various economic class applications.

- hire more temporary duty officers to process refugee applications. Citizenship and Immigration Canada often draws on retirees and other branches to pitch in when visa application volumes in certain offices get too large to process with permanent staff.

- Change the idea that refugees are a problem and a drain on the economy. "Many refugees do undoubtedly struggle economically in their first years in Canada, but from a long-term perspective, many refugee groups, including Eastern European displaced persons admitted in the late 40s and early 50s, Hungarian refugees admitted in the late 1950s, east African and Asian refugees admitted in the early 70s, and Vietnamese refugees admitted in the late 70s and early 80s have done spectacularly well in Canada. The children of refugees are doing even better," Satzewich says.

Vic Satzewich is available at and 905-525-9140, ext. 20746.


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Michelle Donovan                                          

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Wade Hemsworth                                          

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