Improving the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program

Ottawa, December 9, 2011 — Canada is proposing changes to the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) Program that would help to reduce backlogs and improve processing times, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today.

“These proposed changes would result in faster processing times, thereby improving the efficiency of the PSR Program,” said Minister Kenney.

As part of Canada’s Refugee Resettlement Program, private sponsors, Groups of Five (G5s) who are five or more Canadian citizens or permanent residents, and Community Sponsors (CSs), which are organizations that have not signed formal agreements with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), may submit applications to sponsor refugees from abroad.

To reduce delays in processing PSR applications, the regulatory proposal would require that both the sponsorship application form and the permanent resident application be submitted at the same time. This amendment would also define what constitutes a complete application and allow CIC to return those that are incomplete.

The regulatory amendment would also limit G5s and CSs to sponsoring applicants who are recognized as refugees by either the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees or a State.

Visa officers must currently review two or more G5 or CS applications for every one they accept. Many of these applications are refused on the basis of eligibility, meaning that the majority of cases submitted by these private sponsors are not valid or credible refugee claims.

The proposed change would help manage the volume and quality of applications in the G5 and CS categories. The anticipated higher quality of applications received is also expected to improve overall processing efficiency, increase the acceptance rate and reduce wait times.

CIC currently lands more than double the number of privately sponsored refugees than in 2000,” added the Minister. “For the continued health of the program, we need to ensure that we respond to both the protection needs of refugees and the priorities of private sponsors across Canada.”

To learn more about the proposed changes, read the Notice of Intent published in the Canada Gazette.

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For further information (media only), please contact:

Candice Malcolm
Minister’s Office
Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Media Relations
Communications Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Building a stronger Canada: Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) strengthens Canada’s economic, social and cultural prosperity, helping ensure Canadian safety and security while managing one of the largest and most generous immigration programs in the world.

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