ISSofBC welcomes increased diversity of refugees

 Government-Assisted Refugee family arrives at the airport in Canada.

Over 270 refugees from Syria, Eritrea, Iran, Myanmar and Iraq arrived at ISSofBC Welcome Centre July to late September with a surge of arrivals expected through to the end of December states the ISSofBC Government-Assisted Refugee Arrival Bulletin released today.

While over half of the refugees welcomed by ISSofBC this year were originally from Syria, the organization will also see an increase in the diversity of countries from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East in the coming months and in 2019.

Government-Assisted Refugees (GARs) are refugees selected from abroad and resettled to Canada, arriving as permanent residents. The federal government is responsible for their selection and initial settlement in Canada. ISSofBC Welcome Centre provides temporary housing and service support for GARs and refugee claimants through a number of programs and co-located organizations and institutions such Settlement Orientation Services (SOS), the Vancouver Association of Survivors of Torture (VAST), Mount Pleasant Family Centre Society and VanCity Credit Union. In addition, the centre addresses essential needs of all newcomers to Canada including free English classes and settlement and employment services.

ISSofBC Welcome Centre serves approximately 1,000 GARs per year destined to British Columbia and through partnering organizations close to 1,800 refugee claimants.

Canada plans to gradually increase the number of refugees it will accept under its humanitarian, family reunification and sponsorship programs from 43,000 to reach 51,700 by 2021. This includes through the Government-Assisted, Privately-Sponsored and Blended Visa Office-Referred refugee programs.

According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) an unprecedented 68.5 million people around the world have been forced from home. Among them are nearly 25.4 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.

Learn more about refugees and Canada’s role in our Refugee Resources section or visit the BC Refugee Hub for information on Refugee Claimants.

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