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When will the family get here?
This chart shows what happens after the application is submitted to Immigration, Citizenship, and Refugees Canada (IRCC). If the family’s application is accepted, and they pass all the screening, they will likely be here by the spring of 2021. But this is unpredictable. They could arrive later, or as early as summer 2020.
1. Application Acceptance
IRCC assigns a file number, and reviews the application for errors or omissions
2. Application Review
Application is sent to the visa office where the family is living
The application is reviewed to see if the refugee claim is valid
The family's story is checked against known information about the situation in the home country
We may have to send additional documentation
3. Family Interview
The family is called into the visa office
They are asked detailed questions about their application
A decision is made on acceptance to Canada or not
4. Medical and Security Screening
The family is seen by a doctor to ensure they pose no medical risk and/or have no health needs to address during travel
Security services take biometric data and do a final, thorough background check
5. Travel to Canada
The International Organization for migration will:
- arrange exit visa
- get the family flights to Canada
- guide them through immigration upon arrival
Team Sooke greets them at the Victoria airport
All through this process we will be keeping in touch with the family to help them keep their spirits up, work on their English, and learn a little about Canada.
Why does it take so long?
IRCC reports that at any given moment there are approximately 40,000 private sponsorship applications in the queue. They are working to speed up the process, and have a goal to process private sponsorships within 18 months. We have heard of some recent cases coming through a year earlier than expected.
Can you tell us more about the family?
For the sake of the family's safety and privacy, we cannot tell you any details that might make it possible to identify them. But we can tell you about the situation in Sudan that forced them to flee, and why they cannot return.
Since 1983 the successive governments of Sudan have defined the country as a Sunni Muslim and Arab nation with a constitution based on Sharia law. According to reliable sources such as the United Nations, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Médecins Sans Frontières, this has meant decades of marginalization, persecution, and genocide for minority religious and ethnic groups, including:
The family we hope to sponsor has suffered brutal treatment at the hands of the authorities due to their faith and ethnicity, and have been caught in the cross-fire of civil war. What they have experienced has been compared by some to the Rwandan genocide. The family would literally be facing a death sentence if they returned to Sudan.
The family are now living as refugees in Egypt in relative safety, but have no future. They can never settle as citizens, they may only work in the lowest-paying domestic jobs, and their children have no access to public education.
In early April 2019, protests against mis-management of the economy and corruption lead to a military coup in Sudan. Widespread civil unrest throughout the country has followed. With Sudan even less stable than it was before, there is little chance of peace or an improvement in the human rights situation any time in the near future.
Will they stay in Sooke?
We hope so. But we always remember our purpose is to help the family gain back what they have lost: the ability to live freely and determine their own future. One thing we know for certain from our first sponsorship is that the warm welcome our communities give to newcomers is a solid base from which to begin their new lives. We are still in touch with the first family we sponsored and they continue to thank us for the support they received here.