2.A Refugees: From Eligibility to Arrival
A.2 What resources and partnerships are required to process privately sponsored refugees?
(iv) If refugees are named by sponsors, which actor(s) is/are responsible for which processing step?
How Canada Does It
Canada’s refugee system allows sponsoring groups to identify refugees they wish to sponsor to come to Canada. Generally, Canada will:
- Conduct background checks of the sponsors and assess their ability to provide income and settlement support to the sponsored refugees;
- Conduct an interview to assess the refugee applicant’s eligibility to be granted protection. In some cases where applicants have already been determined to be Convention Refugees by UNHCR or their host government, the Canada may follow that determination without conducting an in-person interview;
- Conduct an interview and collect biometric information to determine the refugee’s admissibility to become a permanent resident, including medical, criminal and security assessments;
- Issue a visa to all refugees resettled to Canada; and
- Coordinate refugees’ travel including arranging for travel documentation, exit permits, and all flight logistics (typically in partnership with the International Organization for Migration and the host State).
A sponsoring group may submit an application for any individual it believes is eligible to be granted protection by Canada and who is admissible to become a permanent resident of Canada. Prior to submitting a sponsorship application and based on available information, the sponsor will make a preliminary assessment as to whether the applicant may meet the refugee eligibility criteria. For example, refugees need to have appropriate documentation if being sponsored by a Group of Five or Community Sponsor group (see 2.B.3(ii)). Refugees must also be outside of their country of origin in order to be eligible for sponsorship.
In addition to the refugee application, sponsors are responsible for completing a separate application to show the government they have financial and settlement capacity to sponsor the refugee(s) they have identified. Before processing the refugee applications overseas, Canada assesses sponsors’ eligibility and capacity to sponsor at the Resettlement Operations Centre in Ottawa.
Canada allows three main types of groups to sponsor refugees: (1) Sponsorship Agreement Holders and their Constituent Groups and/or Co-Sponsors; (2) Groups of Five; and (3) Community Sponsors. For more information see 2.B.3(ii).