General information for congregations on refugee sponsorship with CLWR

Thank you for your interest in refugee sponsorship! CLWR is a Sponsorship Agreement Holder with the Canadian government. This means that through us, churches and groups (who become our Constituent Groups) are able to sponsor refugees from abroad.

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Visit CLWR’s full refugee sponsorship information page here: www.clwr.org/refugeeresettlement

Refugee Sponsorship is a process that must be initiated within Canada. This process is not an immigration category; it is first and foremost for refugee protection. The person/s being sponsored must fall under the Refugee Convention definition established by the United Nations.  A refugee is someone who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”

If you want to get involved with refugee sponsorship, you need to identify what type of sponsorship you will be involved with. See below:

Type of Refugee Sponsorship

Full Sponsorship

Whereby the church provides both the finances and the settlement support for the full sponsorship year.

If refugee has not been assigned to resettlement to Canada via the visa office abroad, they need to undergo the refugee determination process abroad. Refugee applicant fills out application forms and church fills out Undertaking forms, which must be submitted to CIC for processing.

Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR)

A cost-sharing program with the Canadian government. They provide 6 months of settlement funds and the church provide for the other 6. The church provides all the settlement support for the whole year.

The refugee applicants’ information will be on a list provided by the CIC Matching Centre. They are ready to travel to Canada, pending a match with a Canadian sponsor.

Joint-Assistance (JAS)

Whereby the Government of Canada provides the settlement funds for the full sponsorship period, and church provides in-kind settlement support. Usually these refugees are high-needs cases.

The refugee applicants’ information will on a list provided by the CIC Matching Centre. They are ready to travel to Canada, pending a match with a Canadian sponsor.

Family-linked

Whereby the relatives in Canada provide the settlement funds for the full sponsorship year, and the church provides in-kind settlement support.

They need to undergo the refugee determination process abroad. Refugee applicant fills out application forms and church fills out Undertaking forms, which must be submitted to CIC for processing.

Sponsor responsibilities for full sponsorships:

  • Need to raise the total amount of money needed for a full-year of settlement support
  • Need to pay for rent, food, clothing, transportation, prescriptions, non-emergency dental procedures, etc.
  • Meet at the airport and provide temporary housing
  • Help to find affordable permanent housing
  • Accessing OHIP/SIN, banking and other services. Refugees will become Permanent Residents upon landing in Canada and therefore are able to apply for OHIP and SIN cards
  • Register for ESL classes and guidance to Canadian job market. There are local settlement agencies that can help with this, such as multicultural centres or YMCAs
  • Orientation and budgeting of monthly expenses
  • Friendship and emotional support

Sponsor responsibilities for BVOR sponsorships:

  • Need to raise half the amount of money needed for a full-year of settlement support
  • CIC office to get first RAP (Resettlement Assistance Program) cheque from government
  • Help refugee/s to report to CIC each month about income
  • Similar settlement supports as above

Keep in mind:

  • Start-up expenses: stock food, seasonal clothing, first/last month’s rent, utilities
  • Travel loans from the Canadian Government which they need to start paying them at 3 months of arrival. Try to fundraise for this if possible.
  • Most important about all this, is that CLWR will help you at every step of the way:

All the paperwork!

Training workshop and we can go over with the volunteers what to expect

Refugee trauma, culture sensitivity, mutual expectations

How to access services and resources for the refugees, etc.

Anticipated budgets:

budget chart sm

***If there are children under 18 years of age, the parents are entitled to apply for Canada Child Tax Benefit or the Universal Child Tax Benefit.

Why do we sponsor refugees?

We do not sponsor refugees because they are Christian; we sponsor them because WE are Christians.

Jesus himself was a refugee in Egypt when he had to flee as an infant with his parents to protect his life from Herod’s wrath (Matthew 2:13)

We are commissioned to “welcome the stranger” (Exodus 23:9, Deuteronomy 10:17-18, Leviticus 19:33-34, Hebrews 13:2, Matthew 25:35, 1 Peter 4:9)

Many Lutherans are themselves refugees from the Second World War, or have parents or grandparents who were. It is part of our history.

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