Finally – a new refugee sponsorship program for Australia!

After years of research, advocacy and imagining, Australia finally has a new community refugee sponsorship program in the pipeline.  In December 2021 the federal government  announced its plans to partner with CRSA in the design and delivery of the ‘CRISP’ program – the Community Refugee Integration and Settlement Pilot – a four year program commencing in mid 2022.

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 will support 1,500 refugees from 2022 to 2025. You can read the government’s media release here and our response here.

The CRISP 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 comprise groups of five or more adult volunteers who live near one another. These groups  will be the ones who meet the refugee households when they first arrive in Australia and have primary responsibility for helping them find their feet during their first 12 months in the country. That means getting to know them before they arrive here, preparing for their arrival, meeting them at the airport on ‘day one’ and helping them in building their lives in the Australian community during their first year as new residents. The refugees who will benefit will be those referred to Australia for resettlement by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR), having been identified as in urgent need of resettlement. They could come from a wide variety of countries and may have been waiting for the opportunity to resettle in a safe new country for a long time. 

While some of the finer details of the program are still being ironed out, we’re wasting no time in finding groups of everyday Australians who are eager to put their hands up to welcome and support refugees to settle in their communities.

Find out more about the program and how to get involved:

If you are an individual looking to find others in your area to form a group with, please post your interest on the CRSA Facebook group.

Information for Refugees

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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