Crisis could bring spike in refugee backlog

Published in The Catholic Register on July 15, 2020

COVID-19 has almost completely choked off the flow of refugees to Canada, which has refugee sponsors worried about the backlog building up as they wait for travel restrictions to ease so they can start again helping new arrivals ease into jobs, apartments and communities.

The sponsorship community is worried by backlogs that never did go away.

“The backlogs are still there,” said Citizens for Public Justice refugee expert Stephen Kaduuli. “Although they have made some slight improvement through technology and additions to the personnel and various visa posts — some small improvement — the complaints are still there.”

In a recent report on the health of the private sponsorship system, Kaduuli reveals that as of July 31, 2019, the actual wait time for a refugee sponsored through a Sponsorship Agreement Holder was well over two years (27 months). For other parts of the private sponsorship system the wait times are nearly as long — 23 months for community sponsors and 19 months for “Group of Five” sponsors.