How much money should the sponsorship group budget for refugee support?
Most sponsorship groups aim to align their monthly monetary support with the amount of money that the individuals/family would receive from government Social Assistance benefits. It is vital that this monthly support is not the only support that the family receives. The family should not be expected to furnish their new home from their monthly stipend. In kind donations and services are needed to set up the family; for example, furniture donations, and a trip to the grocery store to stock the kitchen with basic ingredients. Most groups also pay for expenses like driving license testing. Depending on whether warm clothing is given at the point of entry, it is important to equip newcomers with warm and comfortable clothing. Again, in-kind donations are useful, as well as coupons provided by the Salvation Army and other sources. ISKA provides information about these and other resources.
Should we encourage refugees to work in the first year?
The top priority in the first 12 months should be language acquisition for any newcomers who don’t have high proficiency in English. Volunteering can be an excellent way to gain experience during this period. Part-time work that does not conflict with English classes is an option but care should be taken to investigate the implications for government funding if earnings go beyond a threshold outlined in the newcomer’s notice of settlement support.
Should our group cover the costs of the airfare?
The federal government for a short time covered the cost of air travel for refugees from Syria (up until March 2016 when the quota of 25,000 refugees from Syria was reached); however, refugees from all regions are now required to pay the airfare. Refugees in the past were always required to pay their own airfare so this is not a new policy. The federal government provides transportation loans. In the interests of equity and to remove the debt burden of the transportation loans, sponsors are strongly encouraged to cover the cost of the flights.