Recent government announcement of new  ‘CRISP’ program

The Australian government has recently announced that it will partner with CRSA in the design of a new community sponsorship program for refugees known as ‘CRISP’ (Community Refugee Integration and Settlement Pilot). This program will enable groups of everyday Australians (including those in regional communities) to welcome refugees into their local area from ‘day one’ of their Australian journey and provide them with practical resettlement and integration support, in line with other community sponsorship programs operating successfully around the world. The program, due to be launched in the first half of 2022, will support 1,500 refugees over an initial four year period (2022 to 2025). You can read the government’s media release here and our response here.

BE THE FIRST TO KNOW WHEN APPLICATIONS ARE OPEN: If you’re interested in being involved in CRISP or finding out more, let us know by completing our Expression of Interest form and we will email you as soon as more information is available. You can also find out a bit more by reading below.

Recent government announcement of new  ‘CRISP’ program

The details of the pilot will be determined in the coming months. CRSA will be partnering with the government to co-design the program for launch in 2022.  Here’s what we know so far from the government’s recent announcement:

  1. What does the pilot entail?
    The pilot will provide a system through which groups of everyday Australian volunteers can directly support the settlement of refugees into their local community.  Community supporter groups will be the ones to meet the refugee households when they first arrive in Australia and have primary responsibility for helping them find their feet in the initial stages of their settlement in Australia.
  2. Where will the refugees come from and how will they be identified?
    The CRISP program will enable the community groups to assist the resettlement of refugees referred to the Australian government by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or others who do not have identified links to Australia. This means that the refugees involved in the program could come from a wide variety of countries.The UNHCR has a long-standing system which prioritises those refugees who are in most need of resettlement and refers them for resettlement to countries like Australia.
  3. What obligations would a community supporter group assume under the CRISP and how much would this cost?
    The government’s announcements indicate that the refugees involved in the CRISP program will have access to the same income support and Medicare as other refugees arriving in Australia. Community supporter groups would be the ones providing social and settlement and social support, rather than government-funded settlement service providers.    Supporters will provide a range of practical and in-kind settlement and integration support, including help with finding housing, work and learning English. We expect that community supporter groups will need to raise a modest amount of funds and/or collect quality donated goods to provide the refugee/family with a range of things, including basic needs on arrival, initial on-arrival accomodation and furniture/appliances for when they move into their permanent home.
  4. What is needed to become a community supporter group?
    The criteria for community supporter groups is still to be developed. Further details will be provided in due course.
  5. Will community supporter groups need to be incorporated or working under an umbrella organisation?
    This is another issue that will be resolved in coming months.  However, if you are interested in potentially forming a CRISP community supporter group we would encourage you to begin having conversations with relevant local community organisations (eg clubs, schools, faith organisations etc) about whether or not they might like to be involved.  Being affiliated with an established community organisation could make it easier to engage in fundraising and other activities in connection with this program.
  6. Can community supporter groups be based anywhere in Australia?
    As far as we can tell from what the government has said so far, community supporter groups could be based in any part of Australia but priority will be given to groups that are able to settle refugees in places other than Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane (cities that already settle large numbers of refugees each year). We expect that groups will need to demonstrate that they have a viable plan for supporting the successful settlement of a refugee/family in their area.
  7. What sort of training or ongoing support will community supporter groups receive?
    This is yet to be determined. Under the ‘Group Mentorship’ program that CRSA is currently coordinating, volunteer groups:
      • receive mandatory training;
      • have access to advice from a settlement professional:
      • have access to a collection of digital resources to help them in their work; and
  8. When will the details of the program be announced and applications open?
    We anticipate that the details of the program will be available in the first quarter of 2022, with the first wave of refugees expected to be referred to the CRISP program by June 2022.
  9. How can I express an interest in being involved in the CRISP?
    If you are a member of the Australian community or represent an Australian community organisation interested in potentially being involved in the CRISP please fill in our Expression of Interest form

If you are a refugee wishing to be resettled to Australia, please continue to work with your nearest UNHCR office or a private migration agent to understand what options might be available to you.  CRSA is unable to assist with direct requests from refugees seeking resettlement in Australia at this time.

How is CRISP different from the Community Support Program (CSP)?

The CRISP program will enable community members to support the practical settlement of UNHCR-referred refugees. The CSP, on the other hand, can be used for people in Australia to propose and secure a visa for a refugee who is known to them already (e.g. a friend or family member).

At the same time as the announcements about the CRISP program, the government also announced reforms to Australia’s current ‘Community Support Program’ (CSP). These reforms will make this program more affordable to Australians who wish to propose a refugee known to them. That said, the financial obligations of community groups/proposers under the CSP are likely to be considerably more onerous than for CRISP.

Please refer to the Department of Home Affairs website for more information on this program. CRSA will be closely following the implementation of reforms to this program and considering how we might provide training and other forms of support to Australian community groups wishing to engage with this program. Please contact us via info@refugeesponsorship.org.au if you are planning to propose someone under this program and think you would benefit from receiving training in how to provide practical support to a refugee newcomer arriving in Australia.

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