The Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia (ISSofBC) is an organization designed to help immigrants become established and build a successful future in Canada. Specifically focusing on government assisted refugees (GARs) in this article, the ISSofBC explores the top source countries for GARs as well as their usual settlement patterns.
Every year around 7300-7500 GARs arrive in Canada bound for one of 36 communities across the nation, with anywhere from 800-900 refugees ending up in BC. Between 2005 and 2009, 3743 – 93% of the total amount of GARs destined for British Columbia – ended up in the Metro Vancouver area; 33% in Surrey, 22% in Burnaby and 16% in Vancouver. One of the difficult tasks after the refugees arrive however, is getting them integrated into the Canadian society. The ISSofBC works with the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada to make sure the GARs receive a first-language orientation, their Social Insurance Number, a care card and bank account, as well as a basic household goods and furniture package among other things to help the individuals and families get started upon arrival into Canada.
The next step is finding affordable housing in an appropriate location. Between the years 2005 and 2009, the greatest population of GARs landed in Surrey, 50% of the Myanmar (Karen) people and 77% of the Somali. The next largest was Burnaby where 22% of government assisted refugees, majority of which were Afghan, chose to settle, and then Vancouver where 100% of all the Vietnamese Montanyards and Jarai people settled. Coquitlam became home to 100% of all Bhutanese people, a new group to Canada, and Langley became home to some 250 Myanmar.
In total, Canada became home to 771 GARs from Myanmar, 701 from Afghanistan, 461 from Iran, 271 from Iraq, and 191 from Somalia, along with 1348 GARs from various other countries, between the years of 2005 and 2009. As ISSofBC hopes, this article sheds light on the assorted locations that the different people groups chose to settle, therefore bringing awareness to the greater community, making it possible for these people to gain the kind of assistance they need in adapting to a very different culture and society from their original home countries.
For more information see the full article at http://www.issbc.org/sites/default/files/ChangingFaces-GARpublication.pdf
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