Between 2004 and 2006, the Canadian government resettled 154 refugees originally from Aceh, Indonesia in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia. Their resettlement was unique for three reasons: (1) they were the first group of refugees resettled entirely in one Canadian metropolitan area; (2) they were the first Acehnese refugees ever resettled in Canada; and (3) among adults, the gender ratio was disproportionately skewed towards (young, single) men. This thesis probes the meanings of refugee ‘integration’ by examining their settlement five years after arrival. Through an analysis of surveys and interviews, I document structural barriers to settlement. I then relate these barriers to the ‘integration’ of single men in particular, who, after years in a protracted refugee situation involving detention, face long wait times in pursuit of transnational marriages. Rather than place the onus on resettled refugees to ‘integrate’ better, I argue that Canadian policy can better accommodate their desires to settle.
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Thesis advisor: Hyndman, Jennifer
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