Guide to the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program

3. Additional Sponsorship Opportunities

3.2 Women at Risk Program

The Women at Risk (AWR) program is for women who do not have the normal protection of a family unit and who find themselves in precarious situations where the local authorities cannot ensure their safety. This includes women who are experiencing significant difficulties, such as harassment by local authorities or members of their own communities.

Some women may need immediate protection while others are in permanently unstable circumstances that allow for no other remedy. The persecution or harassment they are experiencing may be solely gender-based. While applicants must qualify as Convention Refugees Abroad or members of the Country of Asylum classes, they may not fully meet the requirement to demonstrate an ability to establish themselves in Canada in the short or medium term.

AWR cases considered to be either in “urgent need of protection” or “vulnerable” and are exempt from the regulatory requirement to establish successfully.

In many cases, women eligible under the Women at Risk program will require a Joint Assistance Sponsorship as outlined above. There may be situations, however, where the person is eligible under the program but does not qualify for a JAS.

Women at risk should be counselled that it will not be possible in the future to sponsor a previously undeclared spouse under the Family Class program. Undeclared spouses will also not be eligible for resettlement under the One Year Window of Opportunity (see section 2.10).

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