Think sponsorship is over? Think again!
If you think the private sponsorship of refugees is over, this blog post is for you.
If you think only friends and families can sponsor, this post is definitely for you.
And if you think all private sponsorship routes are slow and expensive, you have to read on.
This week, Refugee 613 and our partners Refugee Sponsorship Training Program, Refugee Hub Sponsorship Support Program, CESOC, UNHCR Canada and the Coalition in Ottawa for Refugees are hosting four workshops to explain private sponsorship — how it works, who can do it and who will support you along the way. We have two general sessions tailored to specific language groups — one in French, another in Arabic.
We are also offering two English sessions specifically to explain how businesses, community groups and groups of friends can sponsor through the Blended Visa-Office Referred (BVOR) program, an unfortunately clunky and bureaucratic name for something with the power to transform lives. The BVOR program is the fastest and least expensive sponsorship option. The Government of Canada covers half the costs, and the sponsored refugees will arrive within six months of the application being approved (sometimes even faster).
The BVOR stream isn’t perfect. For example, it applies only to refugees identified by the UNHCR as being most vulnerable, so it is not an option if you want to name the refugee you want to sponsor. However, it is significantly faster than the alternatives of the Group of 5 and Sponsorship Agreement Holder programs.
Still, few people know about the BVOR option, and it is going under-utilized. In 2017, the government allocated a maximum of 1,500 spaces to the BVOR program, but only 1,000 were taken up. That leaves government money on the table and, crucially, 500 fewer people given the hope of a new life in Canada.
You can do something about that.
If you thought the chance to sponsor passed you by in 2016, or if you’re concerned that sponsorship is too complex or slow, come to our information sessions and get the facts from our network of experts.
You have the opportunity to change lives — come find out how.
Information Session on Private Sponsorship — In Arabic
Monday, Nov. 20, 6-8 pm
YMCA-YWCA, RBC Community Room
180 Argyle Ave
Who should attend: Arabic speakers interested in understanding the private sponsorship process and connecting with local experts. This session will include information on sponsoring family and friends.
To RSVP: www.refugeesponsorshiparabic.eventbrite.ca or text 613-400-6099
Private Sponsorship: The BVOR Route
Tuesday, Nov. 21, 6-8 pm
OCISO Community Room
945 Wellington St. West
Who should attend: Anyone who wants to know how they can sponsor a refugee family referred by UNHCR, and welcome them to Ottawa within six months. Session will be held in English. Please note: this session will not focus on family reunification.
Private sponsorship for Businesses & Community Groups
Wednesday, Nov. 22, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Impact Hub Ottawa
123 Slater St.
Who should attend: Anyone who wants to know how their workplace or community organization can sponsor a refugee family referred by UNHCR, and welcome them to Ottawa within six months. Session will be held in English. Please note: this session will not focus on family reunification.
Parrainage privé de réfugiés 101 & Clinique juridique
Jeudi 23 novembre 17h30 – 20h
Centre Communautaire Richelieu-Vanier
300 avenue des Pères-Blancs
Qui devrait y assister? Des francophones intéressés à en apprendre plus sur le processus de parrainage privé de réfugiés et à établir des liens avec des experts locaux. Cette session inclura de l'information sur le parrainage de la famille et des amis.
Inscrivez-vous à : www.parrainagerefugies101.eventbrite.ca ou appelez Réfugié 613 au 613-725-5671 poste 640 ou CESOC au 613-248-1343 poste 315