Canada to issue visas to thousands more Syrians

C a n a d i a n p r i m e m i n i s t e rStephen Harper. Picture: AP

Canada will issue thousands of more visas to Syrian refugees before the end of this year by accelerating the processing of applications.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government was trying to counter election-year criticism over its handling of the refugee crisis.

Canada will bring in 10,000 refugees by September 2016, 15 months ahead of schedule.

The government said it will speed-up the processing of Syrian refugees by no longer requiring them to prove their refugee status through the UN refugee agency. Instead, Syrians will be presumed to be refugees by Canadian authorities who vet their applications.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry announced yesterday that the US will accept 85,000 refugees from around the world next year, up from 70,000, and that total would rise to 100,000 in 2017.

Kerry was speaking at a news conference with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier after the two discussed the mass migration of Syrians fleeing their civil war.

Asked why the U.S. couldn’t take more, Kerry cited post-Sept. 11 screening requirements and a lack of money made available by Congress.

“We’re doing what we know we can manage immediately,” he said.

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