2.B Sponsors: From Mobilization to Engagement
B.4 How are eligible sponsors screened?
(iii) Who determines if sponsor groups meet eligibility requirements?
How Canada Does It
A private sponsoring group and refugee applying for resettlement to Canada each fill out application forms prescribed by the Government of Canada (see 2.B.4(i)). They submit the forms to a centralized processing office in Canada (see 2.B.4(ii)), which, for Groups of Five and Community Sponsors, decides whether the sponsors meet the eligibility requirements for sponsorship and have demonstrated financial and settlement capacity to sponsor (Sponsorship Agreement Holders are pre-approved). If the sponsoring group is approved, the refugee application is sent to the overseas visa office serving the refugees’ host state for processing.
Once the Resettlement Operations Centre in Ottawa (ROC-O) (see 2.B.4(ii)) receives a completed sponsorship application package, it does a preliminary review to ensure that:
- The sponsor(s) is/are eligible to sponsor a refugee;
- The sponsorship undertaking is complete; and
- All required documents have been signed and submitted.
Immigration officers at ROC-O are instructed to use the following questions (among others) as guidelines when processing sponsoring group’s applications:
- Does the group have the necessary funds or a clear plan of how to raise funds for the sponsorship?
- Does the group have a clear plan to orient and support the applicant throughout the settlement year?
- Does the settlement plan indicate arrangements for: housing; interpreters; settlement services; transportation; health care; education; schooling; dealing with crisis or trauma?
If there are documents missing from the application, ROC-O may either return the application or request that sponsors provide additional information within a specified timeframe. Immigration officers may also follow up with questions if there are doubts regarding the sponsoring group’s financial or settlement capacity to sponsor. Ultimately, if the immigration officer at ROC-O is not persuaded that the sponsoring group is eligible and has financial and settlement capacity to sponsor, the application will be refused.
If the immigration officer at ROC-O determines the sponsoring group meets eligibility requirements, the immigration officer will create a sponsorship file, which includes an electronic file in Canada’s Global Case Management System (GCMS). Once that step is complete, ROC-O will send the refugee application forms to the overseas visa office responsible for applications in the refugees’ host state for processing.