PLEASE NOTE: Groups of Five can only sponsor persons who have already been formally/officially recognized as a refugee in the country of asylum (i.e.: where they reside now), and be able to provide documentary proof of this status such as a document issued by the state of that country or a refugee status recognition or ‘mandate letter’ by the UNHCR. If you are unsure whether the document issued to the Principal Applicant would be acceptable, please contact the RSTP.
“IMPORTANT: The temporary exemption for Syrian and Iraqi nationals from having to provide copies of their refugee status document when being sponsored by Groups of Five and Community Sponsors ended in January 2017. For more information on the ending of the temporary exemption, please visit: http://www.rstp.ca/en/refugee-sponsorship/latest-policy-program-update/latest-update-from-ircc-end-of-the-temporary-public-policy-to-facilitate-the-sponsorship-of-syrian-and-iraqi-refugees-by-groups-of-five-and-community-sponsors/”
A ‘Group of Five’ is a type of refugee sponsoring group. Like Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs) and Community Sponsors, Groups of Five can engage in refugee resettlement to Canada – however the criteria for group eligibility and refugee applicant eligibility differs.
Under the Group of Five, five Canadian citizens or permanent residents get together to sponsor a refugee and his/her dependents to Canada. More people can join the group to provide settlement support, however only 5 group members sign the required application forms. By engaging in refugee sponsorship and signing the forms, the group commits to support the sponsored refugee(s) financially, emotionally and with settlement support for the duration of the sponsorship period, which is usually 12 months from the date of arrival or until the sponsored refugees have become self-sufficient (which ever comes first).
Members of the group must be 18 years of age or older and reside in the community where the refugee is expected to settle.
They must also prove that they have the necessary financial and human resources, expertise and commitment required to fulfill the terms of the sponsorship.
A Group of Five can choose to partner formally with an individual (e.g. a family member of the refugee who lives in Canada) and/or an organization in carrying out the settlement duties. This partner would be called a “co-sponsor” and would also need to sign all the required forms.
Refugee applicants must meet the eligibility and admissibility criteria for private refugee sponsorship to Canada. To be sponsored by a Group of Five, the Principal Applicant must be recognized formally as a refugee in the country of asylum (i.e.: where they reside now), and be able to provide documentary proof of this status (e.g. document issued by the state of that country or document such as refugee status recognition or ‘mandate letter’ by the UNHCR). Currently, Canadian Government has temporarily exempt Syrians and Iraqis from the requirement to provide proof of refugee status in order to be sponsored by a Group of Five. Therefore, if you want to sponsor a Syrian or Iraqi refugee, you can submit these applications even if these refugee applicants do not have a refugee status recognition document.
Find out more about sponsoring refugees from the Group of Five Tutorial below.
If you require clarification about group membership, eligibility or any aspect of the application forms, contact the RSTP.