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Refugees and Migration

Sponsor a Refugee

Can your congregation—on its own or in a collective—sponsor a refugee who urgently needs to be resettled in Canada? Download a flyer on refugee sponsorship [PDF: 2 pp/57 KB] or And You Also Welcomed Me [PDF: 72 pp/412 KB], the sponsorship handbook.

Compared to 1979, when the United Church signed its first Sponsorship Agreement, the movement of peoples is more severely restricted, within and between countries. Media attention spans one desperate situation and moves on to another. Our heads become crowded and close down after seeing too many dramatic images.

Can we still open our hearts to the plight of people fleeing imminent danger? In all parts of today's world, desperate refugees remain. For some, sponsorship is the only solution. Can you respond to one of them through sponsorship?

Does your community have the resources (human and financial) to give a refugee a home?

Each one of us can save the world. When we help protect one refugee from persecution, death, or wasted years in a refugee camp, we do save the world for that one person, and just maybe for ourselves.

There are three forms of sponsorship: Joint Assistance Sponsorship (JAS), and two forms of Visa Office Referred (VOR) sponsorships.

Joint Assistance Sponsorship

These are usually more vulnerable refugees or large single-parent families, who are supported financially by the government for up to two years.

Joint Assistance Sponsorship (JAS) cases often present medical or pyscho-social needs, and require intensive hands-on assistance and a commitment of two years. These cases are counted as government assisted and therefore come within the annual government quota.

Visa Office Referred

These refugees are accepted by the Visa Office abroad as “refugees in need of resettlement,” but are not admitted to Canada unless a private sponsorship is signed for them. Because they are admitted as privately sponsored refugees, they come in addition to the government quota.

Blended Assistance: Large VOR families are eligible for financial subsidy. According to the negotiated formula, settlement costs are shared between the government and private sponsors.

Sponsor Referred Refugees: These are individuals, named by congregations, who first must qualify as “refugees in need of resettlement” and for whom there can be no other durable solution available. These refugee applicants must be screened for eligibility by the Sponsorship Agreement Holder. Once a private refugee sponsorship is signed, they must then go through three to four years of immigration processing before a decision is made as to their admissibility to Canada.

To inquire about sponsorship, contact the refugees [at] united-church [dot] ca (Refugee Program Advisor).

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