Written Maryam Mangteghi, Immigration & Refugee Lawyer
Syrian Refugees Can Apply For Family Reunification Through the One Year Window (OYW) Application
Canada opened its doors to over 25 000 Syrian refugees this year, some of whom had been separated from their families during the long journey from war-torn Syria to resettlement in Canada. Families who were separated in different countries of asylum can reunify with their family members under the One Year Window (OYW) provision of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that allows resettled refugees to apply to bring their family members to Canada within the one year in which they arrive to Canada.
To be eligible for the OYW application the following criteria must be met:
- The OYW is open to immediate family members only meaning spouse or common-law partner, dependent children of the principal applicant or common-law partner, and children of dependent children of the principal applicant or common-law partner who were not able to accompany the rest of the family to Canada. Dependent children are children 19 or under (the lock in date for their age is when the OYW application is made).
- Family members included in the OYW application must have been identified in the resettled refugees’ IMM0008 form and the IMM5373 Application to Sponsor/Undertaking or to the Visa Office that processed the original sponsorship application.
- The family members must be in a country of asylum meaning outside of the country from which they seek protection and are fleeing. Family members in Syria are not eligible to apply under the OYW provision.
- If the Sponsorship Undertaking does not include family members for which an OYW application is made, the Canadian Visa Office will contact the sponsor/s to amend request permission to amend the sponsorship.
- The family members must still meet criminal and medical admissibility requirements.
If you have family members from whom you have been separated and are eligible it’s critical that you ensure their One Year Window application is filed as soon as possible.