IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion (MIDI) has recently updated its website with information clarifying the status of the sponsorship suspension which was announced in January of this year. To read the suspension notice, click here.
We have summarized the highlights of this update in the content that follows. You can find a complete list of Frequently Asked Questions on the MIDI website.
General Information & Processing Applications
From January 27, 2017, until the anticipated end of the suspension on December 31, 2017, Quebec is not accepting any new sponsorship applications. Quebec will continue to process applications and welcome refugees whose applications were submitted before the suspension. The suspension does not affect government-assisted refugees.
The current processing time for MIDI’s sponsorship program is approximately five months. Currently there are 19,000 refugees whose files are being processed. MIDI estimates that these individuals’ arrivals will extend to 2021.
There is a backlog with the federal government due to increased applications, longer processing times in Canadian visa offices abroad, medical examinations and security investigations. MIDI notes that they are unable to intervene with applications while they are processed by the federal government.
Reform of Sponsorship Program
MIDI states on its updated page that due to consultations with stakeholders and refugees and an increase in applications in the last couple of years, there is a need to review and update the sponsorship program. MIDI notes that the suspension in accepting new applications will avoid future delays and allow organizations to focus on welcoming new arrivals during the course of this year.
MIDI has published the following Helpline for refugees and sponsors who have questions: 1 (844) 307-2433 (AIDE).
Action Réfugiés Montréal’s Sponsorship Program
ARM has an agreement with the government to sponsor a limited number of refugees every year. The process can only be started by a permanent resident or Canadian citizen.
The Canadian refugee system has two main parts: one for people making claims for refugee protection from within Canada, and one for people seeking protection from outside Canada.
If you are looking for information about how to ask for refugee status either at a Canadian border, or from inside Canada, please go to the Refugee Claimants page.
If you are seeking protection from outside Canada, there are two ways that a refugee can be resettled to Canada
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), along with other referral organizations, can recommend refugees to be resettled in Canada. In this case the government covers the cost of the resettlement.
2. Private Refugee Sponsorship
Individuals or groups can submit an application for a specific refugee family to the government of Canada. In this case, the individual(s) in Canada are responsible for covering the cost of the resettlement.
ARM is only able to help with the private refugee sponsorship option. ARM cannot be a sponsor, we can only help someone who is a permanent resident or citizen of Canada be a sponsor.
If you know someone in Canada who can be your sponsor ask them to go to our section called Sponsor a Refugee.
To be eligible for the sponsorship program, as a refugee you must show that you meet either one of these definitions:
A refugee who left their home country because of a problem related to one of five reasons; race, religion, ethnicity, political opinion, or membership of a particular social group. The refugee cannot have access to a status in the country where they are living now, and also has to show that they cannot return home.
For more information, see the full definition of the Canadian government.
Country of Asylum
A refugee who has been seriously and personally affected by a civil war or armed conflict. The refugee has to be living outside of their home country. The refugee cannot have access to a status in the country where they are living now, and also has to show that they cannot return home.
For more information, please see the full definition of the Canadian government.
Once the application is completed and is sent to the government, there is a long wait time before you will know if you can come to Canada. This wait time can be between 8 months and 70 months. The wait time depends on the country where you are living now. To find out the wait time in your case you can check with the Government of Canada
Please note that sponsorship is a long-term resettlement plan. This program cannot help in emergency situations.