Refugee Sponsorship Training Program

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9. FAQs

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I understand there were recent changes to Group of Five refugee sponsorships and that refugee applicants now need to submit proof of refugee status. Can you tell me what documents are needed?

The persons you intend to sponsor must have been recognized or accepted as a refugee by the government of the country they are in or UNHCR, and proof of this status in the form of a refugee status document. The refugee status document is usually issued after the refugee has been through a process referred to as Refugee Status Determination (RSD). In some countries, the government conducts RSD, and in other countries it is conducted by UNHCR. For a detailed breakdown of who conducts RSD in a particular country, please visit the Summary of refugee registration and refugee status determination by Country of Asylum page on the RSTP website.

Refugees being sponsored by a Group of Five or a Community Sponsor must include a copy of their refugee status document with the application package. Please note that refugee status documents are not the same as a registration card/document or an asylum seeker certificate. Generally speaking, registration cards/documents or asylum seeker certificates are not accepted as valid proof of refugee status. Please contact RSTP and we will able to advise whether a document is a refugee status document, and whether it will be accepted as valid proof of refugee status.

NOTE: A previous temporary exemption for Syrian and Iraqi nationals excluded them from having to include a copy of their refugee status document with their application when being sponsored by a Group of Five or a Community Sponsor. This temporary exemption came to an end in January 2017.

What is a contingency plan?

A contingency plan is an important element to include in your Settlement Plan. It is a back-up plan to show what the sponsoring group will do if the original settlement plan does not work out, (for example, if the newcomers are unable to live with the person who provided in-kind housing).

My sponsorship undertaking was refused by IRCC. What can I do now?

The reasons for refusal will be outlined by IRCC in the refusal email/letter. For an overview of the available options after an application has been refused, please refer to the document Refusal Enquiries on the IRCC website.

For more in-depth guidance and assistance, please contact RSTP.

Are there any application fees for refugee sponsorship?
There are no application fees any refugee sponsorship applications.

The refugees overseas said they can contribute some money if we can sponsor them. Can I accept this?

No. Under the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) program, sponsors are prohibited from accepting money from the refugee/s they are sponsoring and group cannot compel or force the refugee/s to contribute towards the cost of sponsorship.

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What do I need to keep in mind when completing the application forms?

Before starting to fill out the forms, carefully read the Guide to completing the application forms.

  1. Identify one representative of your group and make sure to include correct contact information for all group members.
  2. Provide as much detail as possible in the Settlement Plan.
  3. Make sure that each member who contributes financially from their income has completed and signed his/her own Financial Profile Form.
  4. Ensure that all group members complete and sign a Sponsor Assessment Form.
  5. Make sure to attach all required documents, including a copy of the document that proves that the refugee applicant has refugee status, i.e. a refugee status document.
  6. Ensure that all group members include proof of that they are a Canadian citizen or a Permanent Resident.
  7. Be sure to explain the in-kind donations, especially accommodation, in much detail as possible.
  8. Ensure that the names and dates of birth of the sponsors and the refugee is consistent across all of the forms.
  9. Ensure that you include any members of the refugee’s family that meet the definition of a family (i.e. the Principal Applicant’s spouse or common law partner and any dependent children under the age of 22) on the application forms and include them in your financial calculations.

I would like to sponsor my aunt, but she is very ill. Will she be refused at the medical screening?
A refugee can be refused on medical grounds only if the person has a condition that would be a danger to Canadian public health or public safety. Refugees cannot be refused on the basis that they would be a burden on the Canadian health system.

My application was approved at the ROC-O. What will happen now?
Your application will be forwarded to the appropriate Canadian Visa Office. The Visa Office will invite the refugee/s in for an interview and initiate the criminal and security screenings. The refugee/s will also be required to do a medical examination. If the application is approved, and the refugee/s passes the admissibility screening, the refugee/s will be issued visas. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) will make travel arrangements for the refugee/s to come to Canada.

I have submitted my sponsorship application. How long will it take until the refugees arrive?
It can take anywhere from a few months to several years from the time the application is received at the visa office until the refugees arrive, depending on the visa office and the complexity of the case. Current processing times for privately sponsored refugees are posted on the IRCC website.

How do I inform the visa office of the change in contact information or family composition of the refugee?
To avoid problems make sure the Visa Office always has the most up-to-date and correct information for the refugee(s). To inform the Visa Office of a change in contact information, family composition (such as newborn babies or new spouses) or any other changes, submit the information to the Resettlement Operations Centre – Ottawa (ROC-O).

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