Refugee Sponsorship Overview
Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) Program allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor refugees from outside of Canada. Sponsors are responsible for the refugee’s reception, lodging, primary care and settlement support until the sponsored refugee becomes self-sufficient. Sponsorship is a three-way group undertaking involving the sponsors, the Canadian government and the sponsored refugees in ensuring the sponsored integrate efficiently into the Canadian social fabric.
Currently, the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program enables individuals to sponsorwho form Groups of Five (G5).
Note: The PSR program is strictly for sponsoring refugees and persons under the categories of Convention Refugees Abroad and Country of Asylum as defined by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, SC 2001, c 27. To be eligible for sponsorship, a refugee applicant must be outside Canada.
Submitting Private Sponsorships As Groups Of Five (G5)
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, SOR/2002-227 defines G5 members as five or more Canadian citizens or permanent residents, who are at least 18 years of age, and who have collectively arranged for the sponsorship of a refugee living abroad. G5’s may only sponsor applicants who have recognized refugee status by either the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees or a foreign state. A UNCHR issued Mandate Letter of Protection, or a foreign state refugee recognition document is required upon submission of a sponsorship application.
Eligibility To Sponsor As Groups Of Five (G5)
The group must be composed of five or more individuals or organizations and have collectively arranged to sponsor a refugee living abroad.
Each sponsor must be 18 or older; be a Canadian citizen, Registered Indian or a permanent resident of Canada; meet the residency requirements; and not be ineligible to be a party to a sponsorship pursuant to subsection Rule 156(1) of IRPR.
Each of the sponsors must also be living in the same community as the sponsored refugee is expected to settle. It is expected that the sponsors will play in active role in supporting the sponsored refugee’s integration into Canadian life within their community.
The sponsors must also commit to financially support the sponsored person for the duration of the undertaking. The length of the undertaking is usually one year.
Sponsors who have previously received social assistance may not be eligible to sponsor depending on factors such as the length of time since receiving social assistance and the amount received.
Sponsors who have previously failed to uphold a sponsorship undertaking may also be ineligible to sponsor. G5 sponsors should be aware that if they fail to uphold their undertaking agreement to financially support the sponsored refugee, they may be unable to sponsor in future applications for some time.
Potential Challenges For Groups Of Five (G5)
G5’s undertake to provide financial, emotional, and settlement support for the sponsored refugee(s) for a period of 12 – 36 months. And at least three of the G5 members are expected to make a financial commitment. To help avoid refusals, probations and suspensions by the Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada, maintain good communication between all parties, read the fine prints, and review all supporting documents before undertaking to be a sponsor.
COVID-19 has severely impacted most refugee’s ability to travel, which adds on to the difficulty of an already complex situation. Depending on which country the sponsored refugee is coming from and what resources they have available, COVID-19 restrictions may seriously impede the process. COVID-19 is often especially dangerous in countries with limited access to health-care, and travelling from these countries poses an added risk to the health of sponsored refugees.
G5 sponsorship applications can be a complex and sensitive matter. Some sponsors may not feel confident in their ability to prepare an effective application. A sponsor’s personal circumstances may affect their ability to sponsor.
If you have any questions regarding this blog or need legal assistance in a refugee matter, Ayaz Mehdi Professional Corporation is a full-service law firm staffed with experienced immigration lawyers and licensed immigration consultants to assist you in your matter.
If you have a G5 and require legal assistance or would like to be a part of one, contact Ayaz Mehdi Professional Corporation.
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