What is sponsorship?
Canada's Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program
Unique among countries, Canada empowers its people to privately sponsor refugees through its Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) Program. Refugees sponsored through this program are identified and supported through organizations and individuals.
Under this program, sponsoring groups commit to providing the refugee(s) with basic assistance such as accommodation, food, clothing, income support and settlement assistance for the 12 months after the refugee(s) arrives in Canada.
Refugees must demonstrate that they meet the criteria for a Convention Refugee or Country of Asylum Class and have no reasonable prospect of a durable solution in the country in which they are currently located. They will undergo criminality and security screening by the Canadian visa office overseas.
Although there are several types of sponsorships under the PSR program, such as Groups of Five and community sponsorships, Remember Ministries works with churches to sponsor refugees through Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs). A SAH is an organization that has signed a sponsorship agreement with the Canadian government and bear ultimate responsibility for all the sponsorships submitted through them. Both Remember Ministries and SAHs work to support all parties of a sponsorship and help to ensure that all government guidelines are followed.
Studies have shown that privately sponsored refugees have a higher success rate in finding jobs and successfully integrating into life in Canada than government assisted refugees because of the community and social assistance offered by a private group. It makes a huge difference to newcomers when they have a team of people committed to helping them adjust to their new lives.
The sponsorship application process takes roughly two years, although it ranges from several months to more than two years, depending on the backlog at the specific visa office.
Once the paperwork is submitted by the church and Remember Ministries to the SAH, the SAH reviews it and then submits it to the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada). The IRCC checks over the application and gives it a file number. It is then forwarded to the appropriate visa office overseas. There it is processed, the refugees are interviewed and various medical and security checks are completed. Visa offices have varying waiting times but it often takes 18-20 months. If approved, these refugees are then able to come to Canada and upon their arrival are permanent residents. They are financially supported by their sponsoring group who commits to helping them adjust to life in Canada for one year.