Special program to sponsor Afghan refugees without refugee status from the UNHCR or a foreign state
The Government of Canada has announced that starting October 17, 2022, groups of five and community sponsors in Canada can sponsor Afghan refugees without having to submit a refugee status determination (RSD) document. An RSD document is issued by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) or a foreign state to confirm the person seeking protection is considered a refugee. Before this announcement, groups of five and community sponsors were required to submit an RSD document to sponsor a refugee.
The Government of Canada will start to accept sponsorship applications under this special program until:
- October 17, 2023; or
- Until they have accepted 3,000 applications.
The normal requirements for the group of five and community sponsor applications will remain in effect for this special program. The following is a new requirement for the special program:
- Your sponsorship group must complete a special online training session with the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program (RSTP). Who completes this training depends on their sponsorship group type:
- Groups of Five – must have 1 member of the group (who signs the sponsorship application) complete the training
- Community Sponsors – must have the group’s signing authority complete the training
The training session will help you understand who you can sponsor as a refugee and what your responsibilities as a sponsor are. If you do not complete this online session, you won’t be able to sponsor through this program. You’ll get a certificate from the RSTP after you complete the session. You must include this certificate with your sponsorship application.
Should you have any questions about group of five sponsorships, particularly this new special program, please contact our associate Qimat Zafar.