World

Canada to accelerate Syrian refugee applications to bring in 10,000 by next year

  • FILE - In this Aug. 13, 2015, file photo, Canada's Conservative leader Stephen Harper holds a rally in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Canada's Conservative government said Saturday, Sept. 19 that it will not accept more than its previously announced commitment of 10,000 Syrian refugees but will accelerate processing their applications to issue thousands more visas before the end of this year. Harper's government said Canada will bring in these refugees by September 2016, 15 months ahead of schedule. (Sean Kilpatrick /The Canadian Press via AP, File) MANDATORY CREDIT

    FILE - In this Aug. 13, 2015, file photo, Canada's Conservative leader Stephen Harper holds a rally in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Canada's Conservative government said Saturday, Sept. 19 that it will not accept more than its previously announced commitment of 10,000 Syrian refugees but will accelerate processing their applications to issue thousands more visas before the end of this year. Harper's government said Canada will bring in these refugees by September 2016, 15 months ahead of schedule. (Sean Kilpatrick /The Canadian Press via AP, File) MANDATORY CREDIT  (The Associated Press)

  • Syrian refugees arrive aboard a dinghy after crossing from Turkey, to the island of Lesbos, Greece, on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. A girl about five years old died and at least 13 undocumented refugees and migrants were missing on Saturday after a boat transferring dozens of people from Turkey to Greece overturned off Lesbos island, Greek Coast Guard said. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

    Syrian refugees arrive aboard a dinghy after crossing from Turkey, to the island of Lesbos, Greece, on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. A girl about five years old died and at least 13 undocumented refugees and migrants were missing on Saturday after a boat transferring dozens of people from Turkey to Greece overturned off Lesbos island, Greek Coast Guard said. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)  (The Associated Press)

  • Syrian refugees arrive aboard a dinghy after crossing from Turkey, to the island of Lesbos, Greece, on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. A girl about five years old died and at least 13 undocumented refugees and migrants were missing on Saturday after a boat transferring dozens of people from Turkey to Greece overturned off Lesbos island, Greek Coast Guard said. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

    Syrian refugees arrive aboard a dinghy after crossing from Turkey, to the island of Lesbos, Greece, on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. A girl about five years old died and at least 13 undocumented refugees and migrants were missing on Saturday after a boat transferring dozens of people from Turkey to Greece overturned off Lesbos island, Greek Coast Guard said. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)  (The Associated Press)

Canada's Conservative government says it will not accept more than its previously announced commitment of 10,000 Syrian refugees but will accelerate processing their applications to issue thousands more visas before the end of this year.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government announced Saturday that Canada will bring in these refugees by Sept. 2016, 15 months ahead of schedule, by processing them without the previously required document by the UNCR to designate them as refugees.

Canada's government has endured criticism for taking in just 2,500 refugees since Jan. 2014. More than 4 million Syrians have fled their country since the conflict began in 2011.

The Harper government announced in January it would accept 10,000 over three years and promised in August to accept an additional 10,000 over four years.