How exciting! Now that you have decided to pursue refugee sponsorship as a ministry of the church you will want to follow these next steps. The information found here will lead you through:
Once it has been determined that a group would like to pursue the sponsorship of a refugee family, one of the first things to be done will be to assemble a Core Team.
Each sponsoring group must function with a minimum of five dedicated members who will oversee the sponsorship commitments for both pre-arrival and the one year settlement support of the newcomer family. The core team will discern together who is responsible for each task, and together recruit additional volunteer helpers for a larger support network.
Once you have formed your core team, chosen the sponsorship type, and have begun to assign team member roles with at least the Representative (Team Lead) and Treasurer in place, you are now ready to approach your church board.
The sponsorship does not become 'official' and legally binding until you sign and submit the required documents for the Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH) and the forms required by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
In 2019, IRCC created a Minimum Support Calculator that sponsoring groups must use to generate their budget.
Settlement planning is one of the more time consuming tasks of a sponsorship undertaking. IRCC needs to see that every facet of resettlement has been considered and that there is a plan in place with enough flexibility that the task will be completed even if unforeseen issues arise.
Contact us to receive a "Detailed Settlement Plan" template. It is best for different members of the Core Team to be responsible for different aspects of settlement i.e. transportation, schooling, language training, medical, housing, etc.
Take the time to do the research, to make the phone calls, to do the leg-work necessary to become informed as you prepare to walk with newcomers through their first year of resettlement in a new country. Contact settlement providers in your area and consider what you need to know about your community that will be useful for newcomers.
Once the template is finished, send it to your SAH for a completeness check as part of the "Required by SAH" documents. When the family arrives, this will become a living document, changing as required and as unforeseen situations arise, and as newcomers become more independent.
At this point, a Core Team will be in place, the Church Board will have given their approval, and fundraising has begun. Once the church has signed the "Church Letter of Support" it is time to select a refugee family if that hasn't been done yet, and complete the application forms.
Once the forms are completed for both the sponsoring group and for the refugee(s), the sponsor must send the completed files and supporting documentation to the SAH via OneDrive, Dropbox, or their preferred file transfer method.
The SAH will then review the application for completeness and accuracy before forwarding the completed application package to. There are often inaccuracies or elements that need to be clarified, in which case the SAH will contact the Core Team Representative to make any necessary changes before the application is submitted.