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AURA is one of approximately 120 Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH) Organizations in Canada. We work through the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program.
There are millions of refugees in the world, and we continually receive requests to sponsor specific “named” refugees – from family members, friends, and refugees themselves. AURA receives requests to sponsor between 12,000 and 15,000 refugees every year.
We cannot respond to all the requests we receive. We do not respond to emails from refugees around the world, because we receive several hundred every week. We cannot respond to phone calls from refugees outside of Canada.
The government of Canada gives each SAH a quota – a number of people they are allowed to sponsor in a year. We can only submit applications for about 60-75 “named” refugees each year (these are individual people, not applications – meaning a family of 5 requires 5 of our yearly spots!).
Sponsorship is a complex program, with many specific rules and requirements. Each SAH operates differently. We represent the Anglican Diocese of Toronto, and our job is to support Anglican Churches in and around Toronto that want to do sponsorship. Every sponsorship application we submit requires a significant amount of money and a committed group of volunteers. The post arrival rules and regulations are complex, and it is a big job to administer our program properly. Refugee sponsorship applications take several years to process. When a sponsor group comes to us because they would like to sponsor a refugee, they usually already have a specific person or family in mind. So, it is not easy to find groups willing to sponsor people they do not know.
Canada’s refugee sponsorship program cannot help the vast majority of people who want and need sponsorship.
When we receive phone calls from people in and around Toronto asking about sponsorship for their family or friends, we do our best to briefly explain why we are limited in helping, and we offer to keep contact information. However, we do not keep a waiting list. This is because we receive so many requests, and our ability to do a sponsorship depends on many factors. Also, we have the contact information for thousands of people already.
Private sponsorship is an amazing program. But unfortunately, the need for it is much greater than the capacity, meaning it is not accessible to most people who need it.