The Private Sponsorship of Refugee Program involves two groups: the sponsors and the refugee applicants. Each has rights and responsibilities at every stage of the sponsorship that need to be understood by everyone involved in the sponsorship.
What are the pre-arrival responsibilities?
Completing the application
Sponsored refugee applicants are responsible for completing and signing the application form, gathering all the details and required documents, as described in the IMM 6000 application kit.
They can choose to send their application directly to the Resettlement Operations Centre in Ottawa (ROC-O), or have it sent on their behalf by their sponsors.
Eligibility and admissibility assessments
The resettlement process continues with the eligibility assessment. The refugee applicants will have to attend an interview answering all the questions as accurately as possible. They will then have to go through the admissibility assessment, which includes medical, criminal and security screenings. This admissibility assessment is mandatory for all applicants who wish to immigrate to Canada. The cost of the medical exam for resettled refugees is paid for by the Government of Canada under the Overseas Interim Federal Health Program coverage (IFHP), which means neither the refugees nor their sponsors should be expected to pay anything at this stage.
Travel to Canada
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is responsible for organizing pre-arrival services and travel to Canada. Travel costs are covered by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) under the Immigration Loans Program (ILP), specifically the Transportation Loan program. It means that IRCC will pay the costs directly to the IOM, but the money is a loan which will need to be repaid by the newcomers after their arrival to Canada.
The Transportation Loan will need to start being repaid 12 months after it was issued to the refugees. IRCC will notify the recipients of the minimum monthly payment required. They can choose to start paying earlier if they are able, and more than the minimum if they wish. The duration of the repayment period depends on the amount of the loan. IRCC does not charge interest.
What are the post-arrival responsibilities?
According to IRCC, newly arrived sponsored refugees are “expected to make every effort to become self-sufficient as soon as possible after arriving in Canada”. This may involve taking part in certain settlement activities, like language classes, college or university courses, employment preparation or employment assistance programs, with the help of their sponsors and of settlement workers.
The overall goal is autonomy and self-sufficiency by the end of the sponsorship period.
For more information:
- What does the refugee resettlement process look like?, an article from Welcome Ontario detailing the resettlement process with all the pre-arrival steps.
- Private Sponsorship of Refugees : Post-arrival roles, an article from Welcome Ontario presenting the responsibilities of private sponsors, refugees and settlement workers.
- What are the financial responsibilities of sponsors?, an article from Welcome Ontario describing the financial responsibilities of sponsors and explaining the concept of “self-sufficiency” and its consequences on the financial responsibilities.
- Guide to the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program, a guide provided by IRCC detailing the PSR program