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Supporting Syrians in Surrey: Policy Options to Increase the Responsiveness of the British Columbian Settlement System to Refugee Needs

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According to the United Nations, between 1990 and 2015 the number of international migrants around the world increased by over 91 million, or 60% (UN 2016). As a result, many countries have welcomed large numbers of refugees, including those from Syria. This study examines the response to the arrival and resettlement of Syrian refugees in Surrey, British Columbia, with a focus on how to improve the community’s ability to meet the needs of future refugees. The study addresses challenges that arose from the rapid arrival of Syrians, as well as ongoing and systemic barriers to optimal service delivery. Six policy options are presented flowing from interview results with settlement sector workers and related stakeholders, and evidence derived from secondary research. The four recommended policy options are designed to lower barriers to settlement service access for refugees, while efficiently increasing the communication flows between frontline settlement staff and policy makers.
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