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McCallum sending more staff to Jordan and Lebanon to boost refugee intake

April 7, 2016

By CBC News |

Additional staff are being sent back to Canadian visa offices in the Middle East for faster processing of Syrian refugees, part of a Liberal promise to bring 10,000 privately sponsored Syrians to Canada by early next year.

Sponsorship groups have given Immigration Minister John McCallum and other Liberal MPs an earful in recent weeks after efforts to resettle Syrians were scaled back following the end of the government’s program to get 25,000 to Canada by the end of February.

Staffing cuts and limits on applications meant people who had raised money, rented apartments and amassed clothes, furniture and volunteers would likely not meet their refugees until well into next year.

McCallum responded to some of those concerns last week, saying the 10,000 people whose applications were in by March 31 would be in Canada by the end of this year or early in 2017.

That prompted groups to scramble to submit as many files as possible before the deadline.

The commitment to extra staff proves the government is serious about meeting the commitment, said McCallum, adding that he will reveal more details next week about how the government plans to accelerate the process.

“Given that we’re at capacity, there’s a limit to how much we can do, even though I would really like it if we could accommodate fully all the generosity coming from Canadian families,” he said in an interview.

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