Refugees will build Canada stronger: B.C. immigration lawyer

WATCH: Immigration lawyer Richard Kurland tells Global News about the realities of bringing refugees to Canada.

As Canada is set to miss its target of resettling 25,000 Syrian refugees by year’s end, a Vancouver immigration lawyer says refugees can build Canada stronger and help the economy.

Richard Kurland says for many Syrian refugees who have been living in the deplorable conditions of refugee camps in Europe for years, coming to Canada is a dream come true and many are well equipped to start a new life here.

Kurland says many speak English, French or both and are looking forward to gainful employment upon arrival. “It is not a situation of – we don’t know what we are going to do when we get here,” he says.

He says data shows that a refugee uplift of this kind often results in significant economic benefit to Canada.

“Historically, we have seen this happen with the Ugandan refugees, the Hungarians and even the Vietnamese from decades ago,” says Kurland.

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As far as security concerns raised in light of recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut, Kurland says refugees undergo rigorous screening, with the assumption everyone is a potential terrorist.

READ MORE: Here’s how refugees are screened before arriving in Canada

“Our experienced trained intelligence professionals on the ground have done their job, as have others security partners at the international level,” he adds.

Kurland says there are many other ways to access Canada for potential terrorists, other than seeking asylum in Canada.

“The refugee stream is expensive for these bad guys to access,” he says. “It is time-consuming and it often fails because of the rigorous screening undertaken by our intelligence officers.”