Privately sponsored refugees are in contrast with government-assisted refugees. In Canada, three types of private sponsors can sponsor refugees from abroad, i.e., sponsorship agreement holders and their Constituent Groups, Groups of Five and Community Sponsors. This article is intended to serve as an introduction of the refugee sponsorship by a group of five.

A group of five is five or more Canadian citizens or permanent residents who have arranged to sponsor a refugee living abroad to come to Canada. G5s may only sponsor applicants who are recognized as refugees by either the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) or a foreign state where the refugee is living. The principal applicant must already have refugee status.After a person has been assessed and recognized as a refugee, they get a document attesting to their Refugee Status Determination (RSD).  The name and format of this document varies depending on the country of issue.

For the applicant to be eligible to be sponsored as a refugee, the Principal Applicant (PA), and his or her family members must meet the definition of Convention Refugee Abroad Class or Country of Asylum Class (Humanitarian-Protected Persons Abroad). The applicant must also show that they have no durable solution and does not have an offer of resettlement to a country other than Canada. In addition, the applicant and the family must pass medical, security and criminality checks. The applicant and the accompanying family must not complete a medical exam until instructed to do so.

To be eligible, each member of the group must live in the same community where the refugee is expected to settle and undertake to give settlement support for the length of the sponsorship. Each member must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada. It is also important that the group provides a settlement plan.

The group must also demonstrate that they have the financial resources to fulfil the settlement plan for the duration of the undertaking. There are three options to demonstrate their financial resources:

  • the group hold funds held in trust in a financial institution;
  • group members are contributing to the sponsorship with their personal income (at least 3 group members);
  • the group is using a combination of both.

Generally, the sponsors submit the sponsorship application and application to apply for permanent residence on behalf of the applicant.If the application is complete, a ROC-O officer will assess the application and decide whether the sponsor meets the requirement to be a sponsor. If the ROC-O officer is satisfied that the sponsor meets the requirements of IRPR, the sponsorship application will be approved and the decision will be communicated to all group members and the PA via email. The entire application (sponsorship application and the refugee’s application for permanent residence) will then be electronically transferred to the appropriate IRCC office overseas.

A migration officer may determine whether an interview is needed for the applicant and the accompanying family to make a decision. Once the applicants and family members have satisfied the Migration Officer that they are eligible and are not inadmissible, the file can be finalized. The applicants will be directed to the city and province where their sponsors reside. To discuss your case please get in touch with our Immigration Lawyers today.

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Use of the site and sending or receiving information through it does not establish a solicitor / client relationship. The views expressed and the content provided on this blog is for nonprofit educational purposes. It is not, and is not intended to be, legal advice on any specific set of facts. The use of this website does not create a solicitor-client (attorney-client) relationship. If you require legal advice, you should contact a lawyer directly.