Changes announced today will help Canadians who are sponsoring persons fleeing the crisis in Syria and Iraq.
Canadians can sponsor refugees in three different ways:
- Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs) are groups that have signed agreements with the Government of Canada to sponsor refugees. They are generally large, well-established organizations that are trusted resettlement partners. Connecting with an established SAH is the quickest and easiest way to sponsor a refugee to come to Canada, and many SAHs have sponsored refugees who will be arriving in the near future and who would benefit from community support when they arrive. A full list of SAHs is available on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website;
- Groups of Five (G5) are five or more Canadian citizens or permanent residents who combine efforts and resources to sponsor refugees living abroad to come to Canada. (see backgrounder Resettling refugees faster – without compromising safety for changes to the requirements). Please note that processing applications from new sponsors may take longer than other options. We therefore encourage Canadians wishing to become involved in sponsorships to connect with an established SAH; and
- Community sponsors (CSs) can be an organization, association or corporation that seeks to sponsor a refugee. Again, please note that processing applications from new sponsors may take longer than other options. We therefore encourage Canadians wishing to become involved in sponsorships to connect with an established SAH.
Sponsors in Quebec: Quebec has its own process to sponsor refugees. Find more about refugee sponsorship in Quebec.
Refugee sponsors agree to provide refugees with care, lodging, settlement assistance and support. Normally, this is for 12 months starting from the refugee’s arrival in Canada or until the refugee becomes self-sufficient, whichever comes first. Sponsors are required to demonstrate their ability to meet the required financial obligations of sponsorship.
Private sponsors also normally support the sponsored refugees by:
- providing the cost of food, rent and household utilities and other day-to-day living expenses;
- providing clothing, furniture and other household goods;
- locating interpreters;
- selecting a family physician and dentist;
- assisting with applying for provincial health-care coverage;
- enrolling children in school and adults in language training;
- introducing newcomers to people with similar personal interests;
- providing orientation with regard to banking services, transportation, etc.; and
- helping in the search for employment.
Before any application can be accepted, the sponsored persons must undergo a medical examination and a security check or background screening to ensure the safety and security of Canadians.
Under the Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) program, Canada matches refugees identified for resettlement by referral agencies such as the UN Refugee Agency with private sponsors in Canada. Under the BVOR program, launched in 2013, the federal government provides six months of federal income support for refugees, which is matched by six months of private sponsorship support. The sponsor is also expected to provide social support for the full 12-month period.
Currently, federal support for refugees available through the BVOR program can only be provided to refugees sponsored by SAHs. Under changes announced today, the Government of Canada will temporarily expand the BVOR program so that G5 and CSs can also access files currently in the inventory as part of this program.
Visit our website to learn more about how to help Syrian refugees and Canadian refugee programs.