We are delighted to be able to announce that we have officially applied to be taken into consideration when the next “release” of refugee cases is made available by Citizenship and Immigration Canada in March.
That said …
… It might be some time before a family is assigned to us.
While there are many refugees coming into the country each month, there’s a limited number of refugees made available for private sponsorship in the “Blended Visa Office Referred (BVOR)” category that we are hoping for. Most of what you have heard about in the news about the 25,000 Syrian refugees that the government has committed to resettle by Feb 28th, 2016 are Government-Assisted Refugees – refugees that are resettled in Canada by the federal government directly, as opposed to through private sponsorship.
There is another category of private sponsorship, known as “Named Cases”. These are instances where a sponsoring group identifies a specific refugee family to be reseted. We are not pursuing a named case, because it can take many, many months, more than a year, perhaps, before the individuals are reviewed and approved by the government. The BVOR program is preferable, because with families being partially vetted by the UNHCR, the government can complete its checks more quickly … which means a family can be resettled more quickly.
The BVOR cases that are made available for sponsorship are offered to groups across the country … so we will keep our fingers crossed that we are matched with a family soon. We have tried to be flexible in who we have said we will support. For example, we have not said we want a family of 4, with two parents and two children; apparently this is what many groups ask for, and there are actually a limited number of families like this. Most are larger, with 5, 6, 7 or more family members. The housing stock and the cost of living in Toronto poses some hard constraints on the size of the family we can help, but we are aiming for one that can be reasonably accommodated in a 3-bedroom apartment or house.
In any case, we will keep you posted as developments happen. Wish us luck!