Applying for Canadian Joint Assistance Sponsorship
Organizations can work in partnership with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) in a Canadian Joint Assistance Sponsorship to resettle refugees with special needs.
First, the organization must be incorporated. Next, they would need to sign a sponsorship agreement with the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration in order to become a sponsorship agreement holder (SAH), or they would need to be a constituent group of an SAH (a group authorized by an SAH under its agreement to sponsor refugees).
Often, refugees with special needs require more than one year of support in order to become established in Canada successfully.
Some examples of special needs categories are:
- trauma from violence or torture
- effects of systemic discrimination
- medical disabilities
- gender persecution (women under the Women at Risk program)
Refugees under the Joint Assistance Program (JAS) are matched with a private sponsorship group while receiving financial support from the Government of Canada. Generally, the government assistance and private sponsorship are both offered for up to 24 months, although it is possible to extend the private sponsorship up to 36 months.
CIC would be responsible for covering the cost of food, shelter, clothing and essential household goods while private sponsors would assist refugees in adjusting to life in Canada, emotional support, and significant settlement assistance.
How to apply for Canadian Joint Assistance Sponsorship
The following steps will guide you through the application process.
1. Acquire an application package
All the forms and a guide to the application will be in the package. You can download it here.
Be sure to carefully read the instructions. Complete the forms with detail and accuracy. It is possible to complete many of the forms on your computer, otherwise you would print them out and use a typewrite or print legibly in black ink. If you do use your computer, you will not be able to save your information, so print the form after completing it.
Make a photocopy of the blank forms so you can use one as a working copy that you can keep for your records.
Don’t forget add a date and signature to the forms.
The following forms must be completed:
- Request for a Joint Assistance Sponsorship Refugee Profile. If your group does not find a match through a secure website (see step 3, below), then complete this form.
- Undertaking/Application for a Joint Assistance Sponsorship. Once your group has received and reviewed the profile of a refugee(s), and the group commits to sponsoring that refugee(s), complete this form.
- Sponsor Assessment. All sponsors that have signed the above form must complete a copy of this form.
- Settlement Plan – Joint Assistance Sponsorship. This document allows sponsoring groups to explain how they plan to provide the necessary settlement assistance to help the refugee(s) attain successful establishment in Canada. Arrangements should be in place prior to the refugee’s arrival, if possible.
- Document Checklist
- Use of a Representative. If you are planning on using a representative to assist you when applying, you need to fill in this form.
3. Determine if you are interested in a refugee profile
It is possible for an SAH or constituent group to choose to sponsor a refugee or refugee family from another country, such as a community member’s friend or a refugee that has been referred by a contact from another country. This is referred to as a “sponsor-referred refugee”. Visa officers in the respective country will decide if the sponsor-referred refugee is eligible for Canada’s refugee and humanitarian resettlement program.
Another option is a “visa office-referred” refugee, where a refugee has qualified and has been selected, but needs a private sponsor prior to coming to Canada. The SAH would request a refugee profile in this case.
The SAH can choose the refugee(s) to sponsor by downloading profiles through a secure website, or requesting a profile through CIC’s Matching Centre.
4. Learn where to send your application
Find the CIC Centre that is closest to the community where the refugee will live, and send the application there.
5. Go over your application and send it
Your application will be delayed if you don’t include all the information, so ensure that you sign and date the forms where applicable, and include the necessary documents. Above the CIC address, print “Private Sponsorship Counsellor” on the envelope, and include your return mailing address.
With so many aspects to fulfill correctly, an application for Canadian Joint Assistance Sponsorship is often inadvertently incomplete when submitted.
In order to avoid any issues with the application process, you can enlist the help of an experienced Canadian immigration lawyer who can confirm that you follow the proper procedure.
When you apply for Canadian Joint Assistance Sponsorship, you can play an important role in assisting a refugee to come to Canada to start a new life.