What Role Does Type of Sponsorship Play in Early Integration Outcomes? Syrian Refugees Resettled in Six Canadian Cities

By Hynie, Michaela; McGrath, Susan et al. | Refuge, Fall 2019 | Go to article overview

What Role Does Type of Sponsorship Play in Early Integration Outcomes? Syrian Refugees Resettled in Six Canadian Cities


Hynie, Michaela, McGrath, Susan, Bridekirk, Jonathan, Oda, Anna, Ives, Nicole, Hyndman, Jennifer, Arya, Neil, Shakya, Yogendra B., Hanley, Jill, McKenzie, Kwame, Refuge


Abstract

There is little longitudinal research that directly compares the effectiveness of Canada's Government-Assisted Refugee (GAR) and Privately Sponsored Refugee (PSR) Programs that takes into account possible socio-demographic differences between them. This article reports findings from 1,921 newly arrived adult Syrian refugees in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec, GARS and PSRS differed widely on several demographic characteristics, including length of time displaced. Furthermore, PSRS sponsored by Groups of 5 resembled GARS more than other PSR sponsorship types on many of these characteristics, PSRS also had broader social networks than GARS. Sociodemographic differences and city of residence influenced integration outcomes, emphasizing the importance of considering differences between refugee groups when comparing the impact of these programs.

Resume

Il existe peu de recherches longitudinales comparant directement l'efficacite des programmes gouvernemental (RPG) et prive (PPR) de parrainage des refugies au Canada qui tiennent compte de possibles differences socio-demographique entre eux. Cet article rend compte des resultats de 1921 nouveaux arrivants syriens adultes en Colombie-Britannique, en Ontario et au Quebec. Les RPG et PPR different largement sur plusieurs caracteristiques demographiques, dont le temps du deplacement. De plus, les PPR parraines par groupes de cinq ressemblaient davantage aux RPG que les autres types de parrainage PPR sur plusieurs de ces caracteristiques. Les PPR avaient aussi des reseaux sociaux plus larges que les RPG. Les differences sociodemographiques et la ville de residence influent sur l'integration, ce qui fait ressortir l'importance de tenir compte des differences entre les groupes de refugies dans la comparaison de l'impact de ces programmes.

Introduction

The number of people displaced worldwide has increased dramatically to 68.5 million over the last ten years. (1) More than two thirds of refugees face protracted displacement, with the average length of exile at around ten years, and over a third of refugees in situations lasting twenty years or longer. (2) Durable solutions have not kept pace with demands for protection. In 2017 only 3% of the more than 25.4 million people forcibly displaced across international borders were repatriated, locally integrated in host states, or resettled. (3) The international community has been seeking new solutions to forced migration, and Canada's unique private sponsorship model has garnered significant interest. (4) The Private Refugee Sponsorship Program allows non-profit organizations and groups of citizens to financially and personally support people through their first year in Canada, (5) one small additional way to contribute to the successful resettlement of refugees worldwide.

Between 4 November 2015 and 30 June 2018, Canada resettled 56,260 Syrian refugees, with almost equal numbers coming through privately sponsored and government assisted pathways. (6) The ability of the Canadian government to meet its increased targets reflects one of the intended benefits of the PSR Program: it allows rapid responses to exceptional situations. (7) This article addresses the question of whether early integration benefits observed among GARS and PSRS can be attributed to pre-migration differences, or to the anticipated benefits of private settlement--specifically, potential differences in social capital between GARS and PSRS.

Refugee Resettlement in Canada

Canada provides protection to resettled refugees through three different programs. Government assisted refugees (GARS) are provided financial and settlement support for the first year of settlement through government resettlement agencies. Privately sponsored refugees (PSRS) receive financial and settlement support from non-profit organizations and volunteer groups. In the third program, Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR), financial support is divided between government and private sponsors, while the latter provide settlement support. …

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