© UNHCR/ Johan Bävman

How do you get 25,000 refugees to Canada?

A brief primer on UNHCR’s resettlement process for Syrians in Canada

Hany Al M ny AlMoliya’sf s family( y (seep e page1 ) a e 16)arrived ivedin Cana nada

in June 2015, before the new Liberal government’s plan to accept 25,000 Syrian refugees kicked in. Yet


acceptance process Hany’s family went through is similar to what this latest and largest group of Syrian refugees has experienced. UNHCR plays a pivotal role in working with Canada to select and screen our newest residents. Here’s a brief view of what the journey from refugee to resettlement looks like.

Before resettlement—proving refugee status All Syrian refugees

First—Databases tell who’s most vulnerable

coming to Canada as part of

the group of 25,000 were already registered with UNHCR, sometimes three or four years ago. They were interviewed (often on multiple occasions) by UNHCR, their identity verified via iris scanning technology, and information

collected about their circumstances—all

to ensure they met eligibility under the 1951 Refugee Convention. That definition immediately rejects those

22 / UNHCR

Once decided to accept an increased number of Syrian refugees, the Canadian government asked UNHCR to go through its databases of already registered Syrian refugees and using specific filters, identify the most vulnerable who were also a lower security risk. This included those unable to settle in their host countries, families headed by single medical conditions.

females, and those with

The databases represented refugees living in the host countries of Jordan and Lebanon. Some lived in camps, some resided with relatives, and others found refuge in urban dwellings or informal settlements. (Turkey is also a huge host country for Syrian refugees, but the Turkish government manages the refugee process, not UNHCR.)

who h vepohave partiici cipated nw r c di in war crimes, a eco are combatants, or who have committed serious non-political crimes.

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