City Of
Refuge


Remember those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

Hebrews 13:3

Application Process

 

In Canada

An Undertaking/Application for Sponsorship is a legal binding agreement between a Constituent Group(CG), City of Refuge and IRCC, in which the Constituent Group agrees to provide support to the principal applicant, and his/her spouse and all dependants for a period of 12 months or until the principal applicant becomes self sustaining, whichever comes first.

There is an administration fee of $200 to the Constituent Group, per family application, to prepare all the documents required by IRCC. However, there is no charge to the refugee for the assistance of Coordinator to complete and submit their required documents.

An Authorization letter will be prepared by Coordinator identifying the refugee/family and the name of the person appointed by the Constituent Group to act as their representative. This letter must be duly signed by the Chair of the Constituent Group and returned to City of Refuge.

Upon receiving a signed Authorization Letter, a completed Settlement Plan, and in the case of a family linked Co- sponsorship, a Memorandum of Understanding, City of Refuge will submit the Undertaking, the IMM0008 to Resettlement Operations Centre in Ottawa (ROC-O).

Processing of Applications at ROC-O.pdf

ROC-O reviews the application to ensure that all correct forms are submitted and signed by all sponsors.

If the application is complete, an Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR) is sent via email by ROC-O to the SAH Signing Authority to confirm that all necessary sponsorship forms are submitted and signed and that the application was created in our immigration system. You will receive your application number (G number) at this time. This also means that the application has been transferred to a ROC-O officer for decision and that a cap space has been taken from your allocation.

A ROC-O Officer will assess your application by reviewing the application forms and your supporting documents to decide whether they are satisfied that you meet the requirements.

If the ROC-O Officer is satisfied that you meet the requirements, the Sponsorship Application will be approved and the decision will be communicated to all sponsors 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.

The Constituent Group must continue to hold the vision of sponsorship for their community while waiting for a decision from the Visa Office. It will be essential to keep the community informed and involved in refugee issues/ concerns in order to sustain their ongoing support.

If a Constituent Group submits more than one sponsorship undertaking and both are accepted for resettlement and possible overlaps of arrivals are likely to occur, City of Refuge will make all reasonable efforts to find another Constituent Group willing to accept responsibility for one of the undertakings. IRCC agrees, where possible (prior to travel visas being issued), to facilitate transferring sponsorship responsibility from one Constituent Group to another. Since an Undertaking to Sponsor is legally binding, every attempt must be made to fulfil the commitment regarding the sponsorship. If serious problems arise within the Constituent Group which could not have been anticipated when the refugee was first sponsored, the Constituent Group shall provide 90 days' written notice of intention to cancel their Undertaking. Sponsorship withdrawal refers to the cancellation of an Undertaking or part thereof by the Constituent Group before the immigrant visa has been issued. There are acceptable and unacceptable reasons for withdrawal.

Acceptable reasons for withdrawal of an undertaking include:

  1. If there are changes in the financial status of the Constituent Group that renders it unable to support the refugee(s) financially.
  2. A major change of condition, such as significant loss of membership so great that it will prevent the sponsoring group from fulfilling its sponsorship obligations.
  3. In rare cases if new information is gained about the refugee family or from their family in Canada that will result in demands the sponsor cannot possibly meet. For example, the medical condition of a family member which requires specialised care beyond the sponsor's capability or if the community of destination lacks the required medical facilities or specialists.
  4. A visa officer determines that a refugee family requires more than 12 months settlement assistance and support to establish successfully and the sponsor does not have the financial resources or commitment from membership to provide that level of assistance.
  5. City of Refuge learns the application is no longer viable, i.e. a refugee applicant does not meet the eligibility or admissibility criteria.

Unacceptable reasons for withdrawal of an undertaking include: 

  1. Withdrawing an application for a refugee in order to sponsor another refugee.
  2. Change of leadership in the Constituent Group
  3. Loss of membership that does not necessarily impact the group's ability to sponsor.

In the event of a sponsorship breakdown, IRCC will assess whether the responsibility for the breakdown may rest with the newcomer, with the Constituent Group, with IRCC or may not be attributable to any party. When City of Refuge has delegated its sponsorship authority to a Constituent Group and it appears that a sponsorship breakdown is imminent and attributable to City of Refuge or the Constituent Group, City of Refuge will make all reasonable efforts to coordinate alternative sponsorship arrangements. IRCC agrees, where possible, to facilitate transferring sponsorship responsibility from one Constituent Group to another.

If City of Refuge and/or its Constituent Group are not held responsible for a breakdown of the sponsorship, City of Refuge and/or the Constituent Group will not be held responsible for continuing financial support, whether in the sponsoring community of settlement or elsewhere.

Where a sponsorship breakdown has occurred as result of secondary migration, and where City of Refuge and /or its Constituent Group are held responsible for the breakdown and therefore must provide continued financial support, City of Refuge and/or its Constituent Group will provide the financial support at the level required in the community of sponsorship, even if the newcomer's cost of living is higher in the new community of settlement.

When a Constituent Group fails to respect a financial or non financial obligation in respect of their sponsorship, and when City of Refuge assumes the financial or non-financial obligations in order that no default is declared by IRCC towards City of Refuge, IRCC will be notified in writing whether a default should be declared against the Constituent Group, which would prevent the CG from submitting any future sponsorships.

When City of Refuge is in default, IRCC will require reimbursement of funds provided to the privately sponsored refugee as a result of the sponsorship breakdown, unless there are extenuating or exceptional circumstances.

 

Over Seas (Canadian Visa Office)

In some limited instances, the Visa Office (VO) may do a paper screening rather than an interview to determine resettlement eligibility.  The Visa officer must be satisfied with the information provided during the interview and determine if the refugee is eligible under current guidelines. If eligible, all refugees must also be found admissible which means the VO will conduct security and criminal background checks on each member of the family who is 22+ years of age.  The VO will also apply for exit visas from the country of Asylum for refugees before authorizing travel.

Before travel visas can be issued, the refugee (s) must have a medical exam which will be arranged by the International Office for Migration (IOM). Currently, the ONLY medical reason for a delay in issuing a travel visa is if a member of the family has tuberculosis. In which case, the person with TB they must first undergo 3 months of treatment and then wait 3 months to be retested before being allowed to travel to Canada.

Medical checks are only valid for 6 months. If the VO is unable to complete background and security checks within 6 months, medicals will need to be repeated. Any unexpected additions to the family could also delay processing and require new medicals. All medical information is private and will not be released to City of Refuge or the CG.

If successful, the refugee will be asked to sign immigration loans to cover the costs of the medical checks as well as their air travel, which International Organization for Migration (IOM) will arrange.

International Organization for Migration (IOM) will also provide 3 days of Canadian Orientation for most refugees prior to departure. The content of this orientation has been developed by CIC and covers:  

  • Travel (what to take, baggage restrictions, airport customs)
  • Canadian overview (geography, politics, culture, history)  
  • Citizenship rights  
  • Privately Sponsored Refugees (post arrival services available)
  • Education (credential recognition, housing, labour market) 
  • Culture shock 

It is the responsibility of the refugee to update their sponsor and City of Refuge regarding any communications with the VO, including date of interview, interview decision, medical exam dates, and attending Canadian Orientation and receiving their travel visas. This will allow the CG time to begin preparations for their arrival.

City of Refuge will confirm flight details immediately after receiving a Notice of Arrival (NAT) from IRCC, usually received approximately 2 weeks prior to departure.

At the Port of Entry, Canadian Immigration officials will provide newcomers with a paper copy of their Confirmation of Permanent Residence status. It would be helpful for the refugee to have their new home address or CG's preferred mailing address with them at the airport so Canadian Border Security can mail their Permanent Residence cards to the correct address.