04/07/2016 14:57 EDT | Updated 04/08/2017 01:12 EDT

Overseas element of Syrian refugee program to get staff boost, again

OTTAWA — Visa offices in Jordan and Lebanon will soon see a new influx of staff to speed up processing applications to sponsor Syrian refugees.

Immigration Minister John McCallum is boosting resources as part of a promise made to private sponsorship groups last week to get 10,000 Syrians here by the end of this year or early next.

At the high point of the Liberal program to resettle 25,000 Syrians by the end of February, there were more than 500 people assigned overseas to interview and screen applicants.

But those efforts were scaled back once the target was reached, leading to a dramatic slowdown in new arrivals.

McCallum also put a limit on how many Syrian refugee applications would be accepted this year, further frustrating private sponsors who have raised thousands of dollars to help Syrians. 

He met some sponsorship organizers in Toronto today, including former city mayor John Sewell, who says he appreciates that the minister seems to be listening to people's concerns.


The Canadian Press