Steps in a sponsorship
Remember Ministries adapts each sponsorship according to the needs of the church and the refugee(s). Some churches experienced in refugee sponsorship may simply wish Remember Ministries to connect them with refugee(s) in need of help while others may choose Remember Ministries to play a leading or supporting role in the sponsorship process. Because of this, steps listed below may vary.
Communications between Remember Ministries, the church and the SAH
Remember Ministries and the church communicate together about the refugee(s) in need of sponsorship and together work to develop a plan for the sponsorship, particularly with respect to the funds which the church is led to commit. Depending on the needs of the church, a memorandum of understanding may be signed. A refugee sponsorship fund is opened by the church.
Some churches have Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAH) available to them through their denomination. (A SAH is an organization that has signed a sponsorship agreement with the Canadian government and is able to submit private refugee sponsorships for themselves or on behalf of a constituent group.) Remember Ministries can work to help the church find a SAH, if necessary.
Prescreening forms are sent to the SAH to ensure that the refugee(s) is eligible for the PSR program. Remember Ministries confirms the budget figures with the SAH and the church.
Fundraising begins which will be used for the financial settlement needs of the refugee(s) during their first twelve months in Canada.
Concurrently with step 2, work begins on the refugee’s application forms, their documentation, and the church’s sponsorship forms in preparation for submission to the SAH.
Concurrently with steps 2 and 3, volunteers are recruited at the church to participate in the settlement team. This team creates a settlement plan describing how they will care for the refugee(s) when they arrive in Canada. This settlement plan form is filled out for submission to the SAH.
When the funds have been sufficiently raised, a memorandum of understanding is signed with the SAH. Depending on the SAH, a detailed settlement plan, letter of financial guarantee and budget may also be submitted to the SAH.
The refugee sponsorship application is submitted to the SAH. This includes the refugee’s generic application (IMM-008), Schedule A (IMM-5669), and Schedule 2, as well as the Undertaking to Sponsor (IMM-5373), Settlement Plan (IMM-5440) and Sponsor Assessment (IMM-5492). The SAH reviews the forms, any required revisions are made, and the application is submitted to the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, and Citizens Canada).
IRCC reviews the submission, checks it over for any omissions or obvious errors and gives it a file number (called a “G number”). They send it to the corresponding visa office overseas for further processing.
The refugee is put on a wait-list for their interview. Now comes a waiting phase which can take anywhere from a few months to several years. (See average application processing times here. The visa office sends out an email to the refugee as well as the sponsors when the interview is scheduled.
After their interview, if the refugee is provisionally accepted, they are referred for medical testing as well as criminality and security screening.
There may be further waiting at this point, until a final decision is reached by the visa office and the refugee is approved to come to Canada. The SAH and sponsoring groups are notified and given an estimated processing time. Instructions are then passed from the visa office to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) who conduct Canadian Orientation Abroad and books their travel.
A NAT (Notice of Arrival Transmission) is sent to the SAH and sponsoring groups to let them know when travel is scheduled. Plans can then be made to meet the refugee(s) at the airport.
The refugee(s) arrives in Canada and is greeted by the members of the church settlement team. The settlement year has begun!
Remember Ministries and/or the SAH will help to monitor and check in on the settlement team and newcomer(s) periodically or at set checkpoints during the settlement year.
After 12 months of settlement support, the newcomer(s) officially ‘graduates’ from the official support of the settlement team and sponsoring groups.