2.B Sponsors: From Mobilization to Engagement
B.4 How are eligible sponsors screened?
(v) Is screening for sponsorship eligibility prioritized for certain sponsorship applications?
How Canada Does It
Canada generally gives each submitted sponsorship application equal priority whether it comes from a Sponsorship Agreement Holder/Constituent Group, Group of Five, or Community Sponsor. Applications are processed on a “first in, first out” basis. However, in exceptional circumstances and on a case-by-case basis, Canada may expedite processing of certain applications. For example, Canada temporarily expedited the processing of Syrian sponsorship applications in 2015 by adding more processing staff in visa offices in the Middle East in order to meet its target of resettling 25,000 refugees by early 2016.
Refugee sponsorship applications go through two key stages of processing: in-Canada vetting of the complete application package (both the sponsors’ and the refugees’ portions of the application) at the Resettlement Operations Centre – Ottawa; and overseas processing of the refugees’ application for permanent residence by the visa officer in the mission assigned to the refugees’ country of asylum.
All sponsorship applications are generally given equal priority for processing, whether they come from a Sponsorship Agreement Holder/Constituent Group, Group of Five, or Community Sponsor. However, applications submitted by Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs) are usually processed more quickly because SAHs have been pre-approved by Canada to privately sponsor refugees (see 2.B.3(iii)).
In exceptional circumstances – e.g. when the refugees are particularly vulnerable or in urgent need of resettlement – Canada may expedite processing.
The Government of Canada sometimes makes policy decisions to expedite processing for certain populations of refugees. For example, in 2015, Canada implemented temporary facilitative measures to expedite processing of Syrian private sponsorship applications, including by deploying additional processing staff in Canada and to visa offices in the Middle East and prioritizing Syrian applications at the centralized processing office in Canada. However, these temporary measures were removed in April 2016, so Syrian applications now receive equal priority to other applications. This measure aims in part to reduce lengthy processing backlogs in visa offices in other parts of the world.