2.A Refugees: From Eligibility to Arrival
A.5 How are sponsors and refugees in contact pre-arrival?
(ii) How can sponsors manage expectations regarding status of applications and processing times?
How Canada Does It
Sponsors should be open and transparent with the refugees they are sponsoring regarding the status of their application and processing times. Refugees should be informed at the outset that private sponsorship processing times may be lengthy. Processing time can be used to build refugee-sponsor relationships pre-arrival and help refugees prepare and build skills that will help them integrate into life in Canada.
Processing private sponsorship applications can take a long time. In Canada, sponsors’ eligibility must first be assessed before the application is sent to an overseas visa office for processing of the refugee application. Refugees referred to Visa Office-Referred programs (see 2.B.3(i)) are pre-approved as refugees by UNHCR and Canada before being matched with Canadian private sponsors, which may reduce the processing times for the sponsorship. Overseas processing times vary according to the location of the visa office and may take several months to years in some cases. The Government of Canada updates average processing times on its website.
Uncertainty regarding processing times may cause refugees stress. Sponsors may use this time to build relationships with the refugees and prepare them for life in Canada (see 2.A.5(i)).
Sponsors should notify refugees immediately with any updates to their application (see 2.A.5(iii)).
It is important that governments communicate clearly with both sponsors and refugees regarding the community sponsorship program’s timelines and the requirements of the application process to ensure refugees possess all necessary documentation, information, and that they are available for scheduled appointments.