Definitions and Roles
The General Council of The United Church of Canada is a refugee Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH). Under that agreement, entities of the United Church such as Conferences, presbyteries, and congregations are considered Constituent Groups (CGs). CGs are the organization on the ground doing the day-to-day work of refugee sponsorship and support.
Constituent Groups are an essential part of the refugee sponsorship process in Canada, and critical to Canada’s compassionate response to the refugee crisis in the world. Refugees may be government sponsored (called Blended Visa Officer Referred—BVOR) or privately sponsored. There are somewhat different requirements for each of these categories, different processing times, and different settlement budgets.
Process and Budgeting
The federal government has put together a chart, giving estimated costs of sponsoring a refugee family. Natually, the more people in the family, the greater the estimated cost, which starts at $12,600 annually for just one person. Refer to the resources at the bottom of the page to help determine what sponsoring a refugee will cost you or your church.
Lots of Help is Available
The Refugee Sponsorship Training Program (RSTP) offers Sponsorship Agreement Holders and Constituent Groups a wide range of helpful resources to help them in settling newcomers to Canada. All this information is in the Handbook for Sponsoring Groups, available online. We particularly draw your attention to Chapter 6, The Sponsorship Process; Chapter 7, Settlement Preparation, and Chapter 8, The First Year and Beyond.
And be sure to check the Refugee Documentation Checklist, listed below, for links to the required forms and documentation needed from the sponsoring group and from the refugee applicant.