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Shabnam Akrami is the Managing Partner and Founder of Akrami & Associates.

Sponsoring Syrian or Iraqi refugees through Group of Five

Sponsoring Syrian or Iraqi refugees through Group of Five

Group of Five Sponsorship

Looking to sponsor Syrian or Iraqi refugees to Canada but not sure how you can be of assistance aside from making donations to refugee supporting programs? Well, one way you can be of help is through sponsoring refugees under the Group of Five (G5) program. A Group of Five sponsorship program enables five Canadian citizens or permanent residents to sponsor a refugee and its family members that live abroad and relocate to Canada for permanent residency. These group members that are sponsoring have to be18 years of age or older and these individuals can either be family members, friends or anyone else who intend to sponsor these persons for better life in Canada. Also, these groups of sponsors have to live in the same community in which the refugee is expected to settle at and they must agree to provide financial and emotional support for the length of the sponsorship.

Who can Sponsor a Refugee to Canada?

To be eligible to sponsor a refugee to Canada, they have to be recognized as refugees by either United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) or a foreign state. So the sponsor has to provide a copy of their refugee status recognition certificate, also known as the mandate letter from the UNHC. So if you are refugee and have gone through the process of status determination then you should have these documents with you. This document is not the same UNHCR registration card or Asylum Seeker Certificate. In some countries its state processes their own refugee cases for status determination. So if you have refugee status from the country you are taking asylum then include proof of that documentation with your refugee sponsorship application.

Do Syrian and Iraqis need to Provide Proof of Refugee Status?

Due to the crisis in Middle East, the government of Canada has exempted Syrian and Iraqi refugees from providing proof of refugee status effective September 19, 2015. This policy was renewed on September 20, 2016 to continue for an additional year. This change helps protect Syrian and Iraqi refugees to relocate to Canada for permanent residence and avoid the crisis back home. So if you are a Group of Five and like to sponsor Syrian or Iraqi refugees you can submit an application without having to provide a document that proofs recognized refugee status.

Group of Five Sponsorship Processing Time

Group of Five sponsorship can take years to process but due crisis in Syria and Iraq, the government of Canada is working on speeding up the processing times. So if you have formed your Group of Five you can submit an application to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to be approved as refugee sponsors. If you are looking to make a change in someone life then sponsoring a refugee as a Group of Five can be a great experience and you will be able to say you did something to help bring a change in someone life rather than feeling hopeless.

What is Group of Five Sponsorship Responsible for?

When sponsoring a refugee to Canada as a Group of Five you are responsible for covering their living expenses such as rent, food, clothing, assisting with finding employment, helping the children enrol in school, helping them with enrolment of social service such as medical care.

Group of Five Eligibility Criteria

As a Group of Five there is specific requirements you need to meet to sponsor a refugee to Canada.

  • you have to have four other members in your sponsorship group

  • you are a Canadian citizen, Permanent Resident or Registered Indian

  • you are18 years of age or older

  • you do not have a conviction inside or outside of Canada such as murder or another serious offence

  • if you have an offence on record depending on the severity of your offence five years must have passed since the completion of your offence

  • you are not on removable order or in jail

  • you are not subject to a citizenship revocation proceeding

  • you do not owe the government money or have any court order payments pending such as child support or previous undertakings

  • you and your other four group members live in the same community as the refugee getting sponsored

  • you are not on social assistance ( if you are on social assistance you cannot contribute financially but you can participate with settlement responsibilities)

  • you are not currently on parental leave, disability or sick leave ( if you are, you need to provide statement of your benefits and the date of return to work as part of your proof of income documentation if you are contributing financially towards the sponsorship)

  • you are not currently receiving CPP or Old Age Security (OAS) ( if you are receiving pension then you would have to provide statement of your income from Old Age Security, Canada/Quebec Pension Plan, other pensions, superannuation, annuity payments as proof of income if you intend on providing financial support. Guaranteed Income Supplements (GIS) may not be included as proof of financial.

  • you have to employed or self-employed ( if you are not employed or self-employed than you need to have some sort of funds or savings available to contribute financially)

  • you intend to contribute financially towards the financial undertaking (if you are not contributing financially then at least 3 members of your group are able to contribute financially)

  • you are able to contribute financially for one year at least

    As Group of Five do we have to provide money upfront to the Government of Canada?

    No, you don’t need to provide money upfront to the Government of Canada as a Group of Five, but you must show on the application form how much each member is contributing to financially support the refugee. Not all the members have to contribute financially but at least three members have to contribute financially. How much each person contributes is up to the group members and as long as the overall group total equals to the amount on the sponsorship cost table on the government website. So when you are contributing you must keep in mind the number of dependents you and your group members have to come up with a reasonable number. You could do this by using the sponsorship cost table and the Low Income Cut off (LICO) guide when calculating how much you contribute. Government of Canada will assess your eligibility by looking at your financial documents such as T4, income tax statements, bank account information etc.

    Can I do Group of Five Sponsorship and Participate in a different Sponsorship Program?

    Yes, you can participate more than one sponsorship program as long as you are able to provide financially for the person(s) getting sponsored and your own household. The Government of Canada will assess your annual income, the size of your family and the amount you are financially contributing to each sponsorship group.

    Looking to Sponsor a Refugee to Canada? Then Contact Akrami & Associates

    Akrami & Associates has assisted many clients with different immigration matters from temporary to permanent applications. If you are looking to become a sponsor and like to help Syrian and Iraqi refugees than contact Akrami & Associates for more details at 416-477-2545. Our immigration experts have submitted many successful immigration applications and we can help you achieve your immigration goals as well. Contact us today!

    With Akrami & Associates there is always a way!!

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