2.A Refugees: From Eligibility to Arrival
A.4 How are sponsorship-eligible refugees identified?
(v) What hybrid models of shared responsibility over refugee resettlement may be developed through collaboration between various actors?
How Canada Does It
Canada has a number of models where responsibility for identifying refugees and providing financial and settlement support is divided among various actors. The primary hybrid model in Canada is the Blended-Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) Program, which matches refugees identified for resettlement by UNHCR with private sponsors in Canada. Refugees resettled under the BVOR program receive six months of income support from Canada and six months from the sponsoring group, for a total of twelve months of income support. In addition, sponsoring groups are responsible for providing start-up costs and settlement support for the entire twelve month sponsorship period. Other hybrid models include the Joint Assistance Sponsorship (JAS) program and programs under the 3/9 or 4/8 models.
The BVOR showcases Canada’s collaboration with various actors to increase access to private sponsorship for Canadians. The BVOR program matches refugees identified for resettlement by UNHCR with private sponsors in Canada. It is referred to as “blended” because it is a cost-sharing arrangement between Canada and private sponsors. Refugees resettled under the BVOR program receive income support from Canada for six months after their arrival, during months 2-7. Private sponsors pay the other six months of support, months 1 and 8-12, plus all of the startup costs. Private sponsors are required to provide settlement, emotional, and moral support for the entire duration of the sponsorship undertaking.
The JAS program is for refugees referred by UNHCR who have special needs and who may need more support than other refugees to settle in Canada. Under the JAS program, the government and a private sponsor support the refugees for up to twenty-four months. Canada provides the financial assistance for the full length of the sponsorship while the sponsoring group provides emotional and social support.
Under the 3/9 and 4/8 models, Canada provides three or four months (depending on the program) of income support, and private sponsors provide nine or eight months of financial support as well as social, emotional, and settlement support for the entire twelve months of sponsorship. Examples include a Special 3/9 Sponsorship Pilot Program for refugees from the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s; sponsorship of Sierra Leoneans in 2001 under a 4/8 model; and the current pilot Rainbow Refugee Assistance Program (3/9) to sponsor lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer refugees.
Other sponsoring groups may collaborate with on-the-ground organizations in the refugees’ country of residence to complete their private sponsorship application and provide support while the refugees wait for resettlement.