2.A Refugees: From Eligibility to Arrival
A.2 What resources and partnerships are required to process privately sponsored refugees?
(iii) If refugees are referred by an organization, what processing steps does the referral organization undertake, and what steps are the responsibility of the resettlement country?
How Canada Does It
Canada accepts referrals from UNHCR or a referral organization with whom the government has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Referral organizations identify refugees suitable for referral to Canada’s resettlement program, including private sponsorship. Generally, Canada will:
- Assess the sponsor’s eligibility;
- Conduct an interview to assess the refugee applicant’s eligibility to be granted protection by Canada;
- Conduct an interview and collect biometric information to determine the refugee’s admissibility to become a permanent resident, including medical, criminality, and security assessments;
- Issue a visa to refugees approved for resettlement to Canada; and
- Coordinate refugees’ travel including arranging travel documentation, exit permits, and all flight logistics, typically in partnership with the International Organization for Migration.
In 1950 the United Nations General Assembly mandated UNHCR to provide international protection to refugees and to seek solutions for their situations by assisting governments to provide durable solutions to refugees, including resettlement. UNHCR works to identify refugees in need of resettlement. It produces a Projected Global Resettlement Needs document each year to assist in strategizing with governments and other partners on responding to current needs. Canada is an important supporter of UNHCR’s protection and solutions mandate and engages with UNHCR regularly around its resettlement programs.
To enter into a MOU with an organization for the purpose of providing referrals, the organization must demonstrate:
- A working knowledge of the provisions of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act relating to protection criteria; and
- An ability abroad to locate and identify Convention refugees and persons in similar circumstances.
The referral organization will usually provide the visa office with a referral form containing the refugee claim, family composition, and other important information.