A new way for Australians to say 'Welcome!'

Australia has a proud tradition of offering refugees the chance to rebuild their lives in safety throughout their resettlement.

Community sponsorship of refugees offers a way to unlock the goodwill of ordinary Australians to help refugees successfully settle and integrate into their new local communities and supplement the government-led resettlement program.

Are you ready to get involved or find out more?

If you’re interested in getting actively involved in welcoming and supporting refugee newcomers, click on the relevant link below for more information on our current and future programs:

NEW FEDERAL PROGRAM:

A new way to welcome and support a refugee family from their first day in Australia:

Find out how this new program will enable everyday Australians to welcome and help to settle a refugee individual/family to resettle in Australia from overseas through the recently announced federal government ‘CRISP’ program.
» Learn about our new sponsorship program

Support a newcomer who is already here:

Provide friendship and wrap around support to a refugee already living in Australia through CRSA’s Group Mentorship Program (GMP) which trains and matches local groups to provide 6-12 months practical support to refugees who are already here.
» Learn about the GMP program

More about the concept of community sponsorship of refugees

The problem:

The scale of the global refugee challenge continues to grow:

  • resettlement opportunities are grossly inadequate to meet the number of refugees in urgent need around the world
  • rich countries are not doing enough but governments are politically constrained in how much they can do at the expense of taxpayers
  • private citizens feel compassion and want to help but often can’t find effective avenues to do so
  • refugees who are resettled can find it very challenging to find their feet in a new country, particularly in the early years

The solution:

Having an effective community sponsorship program in Australia would:

  • enable private citizens, businesses and non-government organisations (NGOs) to expand Australia’s response to the global refugee challenge
  • ensure that refugees are met with a warm welcome and have the support they need to find their feet as new Australians
  • enable everyday Australians can share their knowledge and networks to support refugees in achieving their goal of becoming full contributors to Australian society
  • bring more ordinary Australians into direct and meaningful contact with forced migrants within the Australian community
  • lead to greater understanding within the community about refugee experiences and lay the groundwork for generous and compassionate policy towards forced migrants.

What are the benefits of Community Sponsorship?

For Refugees:

Refugees can benefit from a strong personal network of people to help them find their feet in a new community. Refugees can also benefit from intensive, individualised and holistic support provided by committed local volunteers. This sort of wrap-around support can address the needs of all members of the family and potentially lessen the acculturation stress and isolation that refugees may experience in their early stages of settlement.

For Sponsors:

Sponsors develop new networks and relationships by coming together to pursue a powerful shared purpose. Through sponsorship, ordinary citizens uncover and build new capacities and community connections, and often develop lifelong friendships. Many former sponsors say that sponsoring a refugee is “one of the most meaningful things they have ever done” and sponsored refugees often go on to become sponsors themselves.

For the Community and Australia:

Community sponsorship can enrich civic life, foster social cohesion as well as fostering full economic independence of humanitarian migrants in Australia. Sponsorship can also help regional communities attract and retain migrants to boost their populations and expand their workforces. It can enable sustainable settlement in regional locations lacking professional settlement infrastructure.

Sponsorship can help Australia as a country do more for refugees and lead other countries to do the same. It provides a model for expanding Australia’s refugee resettlement program by drawing on the time and resources of compassionate Australians to supplement the long-standing government-assisted resettlement program.

Community Sponsorship: A Growing Global Movement

Community refugee sponsorship has been working successfully in Canada for more than 40 years. Ordinary community members in Canada have sponsored and welcomed more than 325,000 refugees since the late 1970s. This number is in addition to those entering under the government-funded resettlement program.

The practice is now spreading around the world with countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, New Zealand, Spain and Argentina all having established or pilot program. With the announcement of the new CRISP program, Australia will be joining this growing movement.

Which countries have sponsorship programs?

The map below highlights the countries which currently have community sponsorship schemes in place.

Key: No scheme in place.
Blue countries on the map have a Scheme in place.
Green countries on the map have a Scheme being established.

You can help make a difference.

Join the movement to welcome refugees into your Australian community.

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