A Salisbury church group that’s raised $21,000 to sponsor a Syrian refugee family says they’ve been waiting months for their family to arrive.
Kristy Murray Chisholm says they can’t afford to wait much longer and they are not getting any answer from government as to when their family of six may arrive.
“It is frustrating because we did all this work and we were told it would be quick,” Chisolm told Global News Thursday.
She says their church group was told back in January to be ready, that the family of six Syrian refugees they’re sponsoring jointly with government would be arriving soon.
“We were expecting very quick and we worked really hard to get ready very quickly and now we are just waiting and it’s frustrating for the group, it’s frustrating for the community and I can only imagine how frustrating it is for the family.”
The group has raised more than $21,000 through fundraisers in their small town. They’ve also renovated a home that was donated to the family rent-free for a year by a member of the community.
“It’s hard to tell people in the community who have invested in this family that we don’t know when they are coming we don’t really have answers,” said Tim MacKinnon, a pastor at one of the churches sponsoring the family.
Accelerated settlement process no longer in operation
MacKinnon says they’ve reached out to their local MP and Immigration Canada for answers, but have heard nothing back.
Global News contacted a representative from Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada to find out why there is a delay.
In an email, spokesperson Nancy Caron said “To bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of February 2016, additional resources and special measures were temporarily put in place. As a result, refugees had been arriving very quickly.”
She went on to say that now that the goal to settle 25,000 refugees has been reached, privately sponsored refugee applications will no longer continue at the same pace.
“Minister McCallum committed that every effort would be made to finalize the processing of Syrian PSR cases, that had been received by March 31, 2016 by the end of 2016 or early in 2017,” the email reads.
“We know refugees and sponsors are disappointed that expedited processing is not continuing, but the accelerated pace of recent months could not be sustained indefinitely.”
However, no time frame was given to the church group on when they will finally welcome their family to Salisbury.
MacKinnon says they simply can’t afford to wait much longer.
“The house is here and it’s costing power and yet there is no family here,” MacKinnon said.
He says they’ve been told they’ll get about 10 days notice before their family arrives, but when that is anyone’s guess.