How did we get started? Immanuel was asked by a church member if we would consider being the sponsors for a sibling with spouse and five children from Africa. We decided to research the process and soon found out that this is a very long and bureaucratic process which literally takes years from the first step until the refugee finally arrives in Canada.
What are the steps? Immanuel Lutheran Church (ILC) is one of three categories of sponsors. In our case, Canada Immigration deals only through Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR) which is one of many Support Agreement Holders (SAH). The SAH takes on the responsibility to see to it that a pre-determined criteria will be fulfilled. These are:
Paperwork and documentation. The SAH will assure that the Applicant is a documented refugee, as verified by the current host country of the refugee and is eligible to be sponsored as such.
Support responsibilities. It essentially says that a sponsor (ILC) will be responsible for the new arrivals for the duration of at least the first 12 months, by having specified housing available to them. Along with a long to-do list to help them getting settled and finding their way through the physical and bureaucratic parts of life in Canada.
Financial responsibility A financial support commitment by the sponsor for this particular family as laid out by the Government: The requirement for the initial “Startup Cost” upon arrival is $11,485 plus 12-months income support at $2,703 totalling $32,436 culminating into a grand total of $43,921 or in rounded up numbers, $45,000 These figures were provided to us by CLWR during a Zoom meeting. The full amount must be submitted to CLWR and will be held in trust until the arrival of the sponsored family. Then it will be paid out as listed above. Should the application be denied or be withdrawn, these funds are returned to ILC with interest.
How long are we responsible? According to the Government website, the group sponsors (ILC) are financially responsible only for the first 12 months. The social/personal responsibility however should not end, as the family will continue to get settled and adjusted to this great country of ours.
Completing documentation and submission of application. Along with the require funds, a multitude of documents completed by the applicant, the co-sponsor (the sibling living in Canada) and Immanuel Lutheran Church are forwarded to CLWR. They in turn will check all forms for completeness, correctness, and associated documentation from the current host country. Once all of the criteria are met, then they will submit the application to the Government Dept. of Immigration for their processing.
The waiting begins Now everything is totally out of our hands. The various Government entities will do what they need to do. The Government will pay for (loaning the funds) to the applicants for costs incurring during the interviewing process as well as the eventual transportation to Canada. This loan will have to be repaid by the successful applicant once in Canada, over a pre-determined time period, half of which is interest-free. This is the responsibility of the now -Permanent Resident of Canada-The sponsor (Immanuel) is NOT allowed to pay for this.
Housing requirement, job prospects Because the co-sponsoring sibling and spouse living in Canada own a large home in the city, they want and expect the new arrivals to be living with them. The husband of the sibling in Canada will have immediate job availability for the newly arriving man. He has been able to get jobs lined up for others in the past, even during the economic downturn. Financial promises As of the end of September 2022 we have firm commitments for almost half of the needed amount, $21,500 with more to come in 2023. We need to find an additional $23,500 to get the application submitted, before the 36-month bureaucratic grinding wait begins. Submission will not take place until the funds are held in trust.
As mentioned before, if their application is successful, they will arrive in Canada as Permanent Residents.
Final note: It is my hope that the above information will help you to understand the process of this new mission. Questions? Contact us at: email@example.com