The WHO and HOW of Private Sponsorship
The following groups are permitted to apply for a private sponsorship:
- Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs)are incorporated organizations that have signed a formal sponsorship agreement with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). Most current SAHs are religious organizations, ethnocultural groups or humanitarian organizations. SAHs, which may be local, regional or national, assume overall responsibility for the management of sponsorships under their agreement. Organizations entering into a sponsorship agreement with CIC generally submit several refugee sponsorships a year.
- Constituent Groups (CGs):A SAH can authorize CGs to sponsor under its agreement and provide support to the refugees. Each SAH sets its own criteria for recognizing CGs. CGs are based in the sponsored refugee’s expected community of settlement and must have their sponsorship application and settlement plan approved by their SAH before the undertaking is submitted to the Centralized Processing Office in Winnipeg.
- Groups of Five (G5)are five or more Canadian citizens or permanent residents, who are at least 18 years of age, live in the expected community of settlement and have collectively arranged for the sponsorship of a refugee living abroad. The five individuals act as guarantors that the necessary support will be provided for the full duration of the sponsorship. CPO-W assesses individual contributions of group members to the sponsorship. The financial and non-financial aspects are considered collectively, as well as the settlement plan, before the sponsorship is approved. The group’s financial commitment must meet the levels established in the Sponsorship Cost Table under section E of the Settlement Plan.
As part of the application package, the sponsoring group will need to include proof that each applicant has been recognized as a refugee by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) or by a foreign state, unless the refugee you wish to sponsor is a Syrian or Iraqi refugee. Only a photocopy of the original document is required. If the document is in a language other than English or French, then a certified translation (in either official language) must be submitted along with the photocopy of the original document.
- Community Sponsors (CSs):Any organization (for-profit/not-for-profit, incorporated/non-incorporated) located in the community where the refugees are expected to settle can make an organizational commitment to sponsor. Community Sponsors must undergo financial and settlement plan assessments by CPO-W each time they wish to sponsor. Like G5s, Community Sponsors must demonstrate that the organization is willing and able to commit funds toward the sponsorship in line with the levels established in the Sponsorship Cost Table under section E of the Settlement Plan and Financial Assessment.
As part of the application package, the sponsoring group will need to include proof that each applicant has been recognized as a refugee by the UNHCR or by a foreign state, unless the refugee you wish to sponsor is a Syrian or Iraqi refugee. Only a photocopy of the original document is required. If the document is in a language other than English or French, then a certified translation (in either official language) must be submitted along with the photocopy of the original document.
Note for Syrian and Iraqi refugees
As of September 19, 2015, the Government of Canada has temporarily exempted Syrians and Iraqis fleeing the current conflict from the requirement to provide proof of refugee status in order to be sponsored. This means that a Group of Five or Community Sponsor can submit an application without a document proving recognized refugee status.
A SAH, a CG or a CS has the option of formalizing a partnership with an outside party to share in the delivery of settlement assistance and support. Partnerships may be formed with individuals (e.g., a family member of the sponsored refugee living in Canada) or other organizations. The partner–co-sponsor–is expected to sign the sponsorship undertaking and discharge the responsibilities that were agreed to in the settlement plan.
How is a sponsoring group formed?
Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAH): Interested organizations can request an application to become a SAH by writing to PSR-PPPR@cic.gc.ca.
SAHs must be incorporated organizations. Generally, new SAH applicants have sponsorship experience and expect to sponsor more than two refugee cases each year. Applicant organizations must have personnel and finances available to ensure the settlement needs of the sponsored refugees are in place before their arrival.
Constituent Groups (CG) are usually members of the organization holding the sponsorship agreement. However, each SAH sets its own criteria for recognizing CGs. Interested parties should contact a SAH directly to inquire about sponsoring under its auspices.
Groups of Five (G5) are at least five individuals who are eligible to sponsor and willing to contribute to the requirements of sponsorship. Each group member must complete a personal financial profile form and the group must collectively complete a settlement plan and financial assessment.
A Community Sponsor (CS) is an organization that decides to participate in refugee sponsorship and provides statements demonstrating the ability to meet the required financial obligations.
Co-sponsor: Interested individuals should contact a SAH, a CG or a CS in their area to inquire about partnering in the private sponsorship of a refugee. Each SAH, CG or CS has its own procedures for screening and approving a cosponsor as well as for establishing the division of responsibilities in the settlement plan. The decision to accept an individual or organization as a cosponsor is the choice of the SAH, CG or CS who submits the undertaking.