Refugee Sponsorship Training Program

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Update from IRCC: Procedures Regarding Residency Requirements for Private Sponsorship

As a follow up to the Change of Destination Requests Bulletin: http://www.rstp.ca/en/refugee-sponsorship/latest-policy-program-update/change-of-destination-requests-2/

Procedures Regarding Residency Requirements for Private Sponsorship

RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS & OBLIGATIONS

As per the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) 153(1)(a), a sponsor must reside or have representatives in the refugee’s expected community of settlement. To meet the residency requirements of sponsorship:

For Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAH):
– Either the SAH and/or Constituent Group (CG) is located in the community of settlement; or
– At least two co-sponsors reside in the community of residence; or
– At least two appointed representatives reside in the community of residence

For Community Sponsors (CS):
– Either the CS is located in the community of settlement; or
– At least two co-sponsors reside in the community of residence; or
– At least two appointed representatives reside in the community of residence

For Groups of Five (G5):
– All five sponsors reside in the community of settlement; or
– Their appointed representatives (for each group member that does not reside in the community of settlement) reside in the community of settlement.

Applications that do not meet these requirements on submission will be refused. If the regulatory residency requirements of R153 (1)(a) are no longer met on arrival, sponsors will need to make alternate sponsorship arrangements, which can include: 1) finding a replacement sponsor located in the community of settlement to take over the original sponsorship; 2) updating the Sponsorship Undertaking to include a CG or at least two co-sponsors who are located in the community of settlement; or 3) appointing representatives in the new community of settlement. A combination of one representative and one co-sponsor would satisfy this requirement as well. See the chart below for more details.

DEFINITIONS

A representative is a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident who is located within the refugee’s community of settlement and is appointed to represent the sponsor in the community, in accordance with the scope and action of representation agreed upon between the representative and the sponsor. A representative is not a party to the sponsorship, and is not liable to fulfill the sponsorship obligations. An example of two representatives could be a husband and wife team in the community of settlement.

A co-sponsor is a person or organization that partners with a SAH or CS to share responsibility for sponsorship support as per the Sponsorship Undertaking.  They are jointly and severally liable to fulfill the sponsorship obligations. A co-sponsor organization would only count as one representative. However, two persons from within the organization could be appointed as representatives to satisfy the residency requirements for sponsorship.

Community of settlement is defined as the village, town or city and surrounding areas in which the refugee is expected to settle. The term community is used, as there may be situations in which the sponsor does not live directly in the same village, town or city but could be considered to reside in the same general community. In determining the community of settlement, the paramount consideration should be the sponsor’s ability to provide adequate, in-person support to the refugee, taking into account the distance between the sponsor and the refugee.

APPOINTMENT OF REPRESENTATIVES

The appointment of representatives in no way removes the sponsorship group’s legal obligations towards Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to fulfill all sponsorship responsibilities committed to via the Sponsorship Undertaking and outlined in the Settlement Plan; the signatories to the Sponsorship Undertaking remain jointly and severally responsible for the sponsorship. The sponsor and the representative(s) are responsible for agreeing upon the action and scope of representation and for establishing amongst themselves how the sponsorship support will be provided, but this agreement is outside the sponsor’s contractual obligations with IRCC.

The representatives cannot be legally bound to the sponsorship, unless they are formally added as co-sponsors through an updated Sponsorship Undertaking. It would therefore be in the best interest of the sponsoring group to formally include the representatives as co-sponsors and therefore as parties to the Sponsorship Undertaking, as it would also bind them to the sponsorship obligations.  However, in both scenarios, the sponsoring group who signed the Undertaking still bears ultimate responsibility to provide all sponsorship support should the assistance of the co-sponsor or representative(s) cease at any time during the sponsorship period.

If representatives are being appointed, an updated Settlement Plan, even for SAHs that have had Agreements for more than 2 years, must be submitted to IRCC to explain how the sponsorship support will be provided in the new long distance arrangement. If co-sponsors are being made parties to the sponsorship, a new Sponsorship Undertaking must be submitted.

The Settlement Plan must explain the type of interaction that will be in place with the representatives and how the support will be provided via the representatives. For example, if winter clothing is required, the sponsoring group who signed the Sponsorship Undertaking would still be responsible to provide this financially by perhaps sending a money transfer to the representatives who will purchase and provide the clothing directly to the sponsored refugees.  Because the sponsor obligations are still held by the sponsoring group, as stated above, the tasks undertaken by the representative in the checklist should be identified as being done by whomever they are representing; i.e., if the representative is representing the SAH, then check that box [1].

For more information on the options of satisfying residency requirements under IRPR153(1)(a), please click here.

[1] A new Appointment of Representative Form is currently under development, including contact information of the appointed representatives as well as relevant settlement questions. This form will replace requirements for an email and separate settlement plan to be provided when representatives are appointed.