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A new Rossland resident on the way

Letters to the editor
By Letters to the editor
June 8th, 2024

Two and a half years after applying to sponsor an Eritrean refugee, our group has received word that they will arrive on June 19th! Once a sponsorship application is approved, the refugee needs to go through medical and security checks. This is an arduous process for anyone who has had to leave their home country for safety reasons.

The home country is often unwilling to provide information, and refugees usually flee without documents. In early April the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) told us that the process was finally complete, and that we could expect our sponsored party to arrive in Canada within 8 Р12 weeks. In the past, West Kootenay  Friends of Refugees (WKFOR) has found that the wait for an arrival date is at least that long.

The International Office of Migration (IOM), based in New York, is tasked with booking travel for all of Canada’s refugees. First, though, the sponsored party’s country of refuge needs to provide an exit permit, involving yet another interview. Neither IRCC nor the IOM have any control over this process, and the wait can be from weeks to months. WKFOR is thrilled to be welcoming a new Canadian within 11 weeks of the original notice!

Finding accommodation is one of WKFOR’s biggest challenges. Within days of learning that our sponsored party was “travel ready”, and thanks to some very generous WKFOR supporters, we crossed that hurdle. We then started the long list of orientation tasks, and another list of volunteers willing to help with them. Then we waited … ! Upon hearing from IOM with flight arrangements this week, we are in full swing filling volunteer needs and making a home. It is challenging for many to help at this time of year, with travel plans and family commitments, so we are very grateful to those who have come forward.

WKFOR would also like to thank the many community members who have attended our fundraising events. It takes a community to provide a safe landing place for those driven from their own homes and countries. We are proud to be able to help this young person, and are grateful to live in a supportive and generous community. We look forward to introducing a newcomer to the community once they are safe on Canadian soil.

Jill Peacock

 

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