Syrian refugees wait at Marka Airport in Amman, Jordan, on Dec. 8, 2015 to complete their migration procedures to Canada. (The Associated Press)
Bigger familiesThe analysis reviewed information on Syrian refugees processed between November 2015 and January 2016, focusing mainly on those coming out of Jordan. While the report says the government doesn't foresee the need for widespread changes to existing programs, here's a look at what it found, and some of the implications for resettlement providers. — Government-assisted refugees have bigger families: 53 per cent of approved cases listed five to eight people on the application, compared with seven per cent of privately sponsored cases. This highlights the current housing crunch — it's harder to find apartments to accommodate that many people within available budgets. — They're younger: 55 per cent of approved applicants were 14 years of age or younger, compared with 27 per cent of privately sponsored ones. The report notes that services directly targeted at children will need to be stepped up and the report notes they've often only gone to school in Arabic.
Long wait lists for language training— They speak little English or French: 67 per cent of approved applicants reporting speaking neither language, compared with 37 per cent of privately sponsored ones. Resettlement agencies have previously highlighted that in some cities, wait lists for language training are over a year long. — How much education they have is unclear: The analysis says anecdotal reports suggest the average level of schooling for adult Syrian government- assisted refugees is six to nine years. Of cases coming from Jordan, 90 to 95 per cent have not finished high school. The report notes that many kids are also a year or two behind their peers, putting new demands on the school system. — Their most recent jobs may not reflect their skills: Many refugees can't legally work in their host countries, and often find general labour jobs. "Anecdotally, reports from visa officers abroad indicate that work experience is largely low-skilled and almost entirely limited to males," the analysis said.
Mental health issues not identified frequently— They are generally healthy: The brief says the health of refugees runs from entirely health to those with severe diseases such as cancer. But only 12 per cent of the medical assessments had at least one condition listed. The most common were hypertension, diabetes and vision or hearing impairment. "While mental-health issues were not identified as one of the most frequent conditions at the time of the (medical exam), it is a condition that can arise soon or several months after arrival in Canada," the brief says. The data shows that 15,157 Syrians landed between Nov. 4 last year and Jan. 31 this year. Of these, 8,767 were government-assisted, 5,341 were privately sponsored and 1,049 are part of a program that combines the two.
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