2.A Refugees: From Eligibility to Arrival
A.5 How are sponsors and refugees in contact pre-arrival?
(iv) What communications technologies are best for sponsor-refugee communications?
How Canada Does It
Sponsoring groups and refugees may use various means to communicate with each other before the refugees’ arrival in Canada. Depending on the circumstances, sponsoring groups and refugees may prefer to communicate over audio/video programs like Skype. They may also opt to use text messaging applications like Whatsapp or Viber. E-mail communication may be more beneficial for longer messages or to send important documents between sponsoring groups and refugees.
Sponsoring groups and refugees may use various means to communicate with each other before the refugees’ arrival. Pre-arrival communication is important to introduce the sponsoring group members to the refugees (and vice versa), to help refugees prepare for their resettlement interviews, to improve their English or French, to manage sponsoring groups’ and refugees’ expectations, and to answer any of the refugees’ questions about life in Canada.
Skype or other audio/video programs are useful communication tools since refugees and sponsoring groups can see each other’s faces, resulting in a more personal connection. However, Skype calls may be difficult to schedule depending on the sponsoring group and refugees’ differing time zones. An interpreter may also be needed to assist with communication.
Sponsoring groups and refugees may opt to use text communication applications like Whatsapp or Viber. Text communication is useful to exchange simple information, ask and answer questions, or send encouraging and supportive messages to refugees.
E-mail communication may be more beneficial for longer messages or to send important documents between sponsoring groups and refugees. For example, many sponsoring groups prepare the refugees’ resettlement application forms and then e-mail them to the refugees to sign. Refugees may e-mail documents that are not in English or French to their sponsoring groups, who in turn obtain certified translations of them.
Sponsoring groups and refugees may need to be cautious about using certain communication technology tools. For example, some refugees may fear reprisal from their country of transit or host country’s government, who may be monitoring their personal information over email, if certain information is leaked to them.