If the Resettlement Operations Centre in Ottawa (ROC-O) is asked to refer a refugee case for a possible visa office referred (VOR) sponsorship:
The ROC-O will contact the visa office by email with an attached Request for a Refugee Profile (RRP) (IMM 5438) requesting an approved refugee case in need of a sponsorship provided by the potential sponsor. The RRP will identify the type of case the sponsor is looking for (family size and composition, language, background, etc.). The most appropriate cases for visa office referral are small families without special and/or medical needs.
The visa office will respond with a “travel-ready case” (i.e., a case that has received a positive selection decision and background check and medical examination are complete) that could be converted to a VOR case.
If no cases are readily available, the visa office will advise the ROC-O to contact another visa office.
If an appropriate “travel-ready case” is available to submit to ROC-O:
Step 1 – Officer ensures refugee information may be released
Once signed, it allows for the release of information regarding the refugee case to potential sponsors; it must be signed prior to submitting the case to the ROC-O for a VOR sponsor.
Officers should aim to release all available information that is relevant to the sponsorship such as family size and composition, education, work experience, and general information.
Officers are asked to place an asterisk (*) against any information that should not be released to a sponsor. This may include information that the refugee has asked to be kept confidential as long as it would not impact on the sponsor’s decision; medical information that has not yet been provided to the refugee; or specific details concerning traumatic experiences (e.g., the fact the a refugee may have been raped can be withheld, but it is worth mentioning that trauma counseling may be needed).
Step 2 – Officer ensures admissibility criteria have been fully assessed
Officer ensures the case is travel-ready: the eligibility assessment and medical, security, and criminality screening have been completed; and full interview notes and all pertinent data have been entered in the Global Case Management System (GCMS).
Step 3 – Visa office submits VOR case with applicable attachments
Officer sends an email to the ROC-O with the G#, B# and UNHCR Resettlement Registration Form (RRF), making sure that the interview notes and all pertinent data in GCMS are complete and that a VOR case has been assigned to the ROC-O in GCMS.
Step 4 – ROC-O creates a VOR profile and sends it to the potential sponsor
The ROC-O will prepare a VOR profile with information received from the RRF and the interview notes, and will provide the case to the potential sponsor.
Step 5 – The case is either sponsored or referred back to the visa office
If the sponsor agrees to sponsor the referred case, the ROC-O will notify the officer of the sponsorship and include the sponsorship agreement holder (SAH) name and the constituent group (CG) name (if any). Once the sponsorship undertaking is completed by the sponsor and approved at the ROC-O, the ROC-O will send a copy to the visa officer.
If the sponsor decides not to sponsor the case, it will be referred back to the visa officer for further processing.
Step 6 – Officer sends a Notification of Arrival Transmission for sponsored cases
For sponsored cases, the officer ensures travel arrangements are made and sends a Notification of Arrival Transmission (NAT)/GCMS NAT at least 10 days prior to travel. The NAT should indicate that it is a VOR case and should also include the sponsor’s name, phone number, address and email.
For cases processed in GCMS, prior to sending the NAT to the ROC-O, the visa office must check GCMS to ensure that the sponsorship agreement holders/group of five/community sponsors organization is associated with the application and must update GCMS to make this association if necessary.
For cases processed in CAIPS, the visa office should send the ROC-O a NAT via email and include the sponsor details as per usual practice.
Counselling of refugees who are visa office referred to sponsors
It is important to counsel refugees who are visa office referred to sponsors about what they can expect from private sponsors once in Canada at the time of the interview whenever possible. Refugees who are visa office referred to sponsors and matched with a sponsor are processed as any other private sponsored refugee. It often comes as a surprise to refugees once in Canada that they are privately sponsored and will not receive government assistance as other government assisted refugees.
This can also contribute to secondary migration, much to the disappointment of the sponsoring group who made settlement arrangements for the refugee(s). Visa officers are encouraged to provide information to the refugees about the Private Sponsorship of Refugees program and can provide the information fact sheet.
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