Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced plans to expedite applications and increase the number of refugees to Canada at a news conference Friday.

This year, the country will increase the number of protected persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and will also expedite the processing of applications for permanent residency, he said.

Over 40,000 protected persons and their families reside in Canada awaiting permanent residency. So far this year, 17,900 became permanent residents.

“There’s another reason that Canada’s light shines brightly, and that is the contributions of refugees themselves in so many ways,” Mendicino said. “We’ve seen refugees give back to their new communities and their countries, even during the pandemic.”

In addition to expediting applications and increasing the number of refugees to Canada, Mendicino also announced two other initiatives. Bolstering the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot, launched in 2018, will not only allow Canada to welcome more refugees but “flips the stereotype” of refugees as “solely victims,” his department said.

The pilot recognizes the talents and skills of refugees by welcoming them through economic immigration streams. The government has extended the project for two more years to admit up to 500 applicants.

On Friday, Mendicino announced new measures to improve the pilot process, including waiving fees and expediting permanent residency applications, among others.

“People from all corners of the globe have sought refuge in Canada, people who have started the next chapter of their lives here in Canada,” Mendicino said.

He also announced more support for Canada’s private refugee sponsorship program by investing up to $3 million over two years to support nine organizations including Rainbow Refugee Society in Vancouver, and Ads-Up Canada Refugee Network in Toronto.

Mendicino announced the three new initiatives ahead of World Refugee Day this Sunday.

Canada resettled more than 30,000 refugees in 2019 and more than 9,000 last year amid the global pandemic.

Canada will also become the second chair of Central America and Mexico Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework Support Platform in July, where the government will talk about the protection and empowerment of displaced women and girls.

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