The world is going through a displacement crisis. Millions of people are being displaced from their homes every year adding to the refugee numbers. Canada has cultivated a reputation for being the most welcoming country to people from all over the world. In 2020, Canada resettled nearly half of all the refugees in the world.
Recently, Canada has committed to expanding the number of immigration pathways offered to increase refugee resettlement in alignment with the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and the Comprehensive Refugees Response Framework.
In 2018, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) Refugee Affairs Branch (RAB) revealed the possibility of providing existing economic immigration programs as an alternative to skilled refugees coming to Canada.
For this purpose, the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot was introduced in April 2018 to nominate 10-15 skilled refugees from the Middle East and East Africa who meet the eligibility criteria of one of Canada’s economic immigration programs to obtain permanent residence.
Under this program, applicants with strong economic settlement potential will be referred to different jurisdictions for possible nomination under the participating Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) or many federal economic programs such as the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), etc.
How Does the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP) Work?
The IRCC operated the EMPP in partnership with the Talent Beyond Boundaries, RefugePoint, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Currently, eligible refugees for this program are referred to 5 participating PNPs:
The PNPs help to nominate applicants based on their ability to meet the local labor market needs of the participating provinces and territories.
Certain key features of the EMPP include:
- Faster processing time with 80% of all cases processed within 6 months
- Flexibility in providing alternative proof of work experience and other required documentation
- No fee for permanent residence application and collection of biometric data
- Allowing the use of grants and loans to demonstrate sufficient settlement funds
- Premature medical services and immigration medical exam through the Interim Federal Health Program
- Access to Immigration Loans Program to cover travel expenses, start-up costs, and other expenses
A successful applicant to the EMPP will be allowed to enter Canada as an economic immigrant and will be eligible to receive all settlement and integration services.
What Are the Other Immigration Pathways Available to Refugees In Canada?
Protected Persons in Canada:
If the IRCC determines that you are a conventional refugee or a person in need of protection through your Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA), then you will be considered a protected person.
This allows you to apply for permanent residence in Canada. Applicants in this category are considered part of the Protected Temporary Residents Class (PTRC). Protected Persons are also eligible for the Immigration Loan Program to cover their expenses.
Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) Program:
The Private Sponsorship of Refugee Program has been operational for five decades and is considered the leading program for refugees all over the world. Many countries around the world have imitated this program including the United Kingdom, the European Union, New Zealand, and the United States.
This program allows private groups to sponsor eligible refugees. Sponsors will be responsible for supporting the refugee for up to a year by providing:
- Start-up expenses including furniture and clothing expenses
- Ongoing monthly expenses to cover basic living expenses including housing, food, public transportation, etc
- Supporting the refugee socially and emotionally
There are 3 types of groups that are eligible to sponsor refugees:
Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAH):
These groups sign an agreement with the Government of Canada to support and help refugees when they come to Canada. The SAH also includes Constituent Groups that work with them to sponsor the refugees under the agreement.
Groups of Five:
These are the groups of 5 or more Canadian citizens or permanent residents who sponsor the refugees for resettlement in their community.
These groups include organizations, associations, or corporations that sponsor refugees.
The SAHs and their Constituent Groups are eligible to sponsor disabled refugees through the Joint Assistance Sponsorship (JAS) Program. All three groups can sponsor a specific refuge or refugee family if they are eligible under the PSR Program.