December 17, 2019

A pledge from the Australian community to support refugee sponsorship.

Many ordinary Australians across the country wish to help people fleeing conflict and persecution rebuild their lives in safety and help refugee newcomers use their strengths and attributes to contribute to the success of the Australian communities who welcome them.

Community sponsorship of refugees is a way of involving ordinary citizens in supporting and welcoming refugees in a way that ensures their full social and economic inclusion. It’s been tried and tested for decades in Canada and now being adopted in many other countries including the United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany.

Through community sponsorship refugees benefit from intensive, individualised and holistic support provided by committed local volunteers. Local communities uncover and build capacities and networks, with local citizens connecting with one another through the bond of a powerful shared purpose. Sponsorship can also help regional communities wishing to attract migrants to boost their populations and expand their work forces.

On the occasion of the inaugural Global Refugee Forum in December 2019, we welcome the Australian government’s commitment to undertake a much-needed review of this policy area and we pledge to actively support the development of a community refugee sponsorship program in Australia which is:

1. Co-designed with community groups and refugees
2. Affordable to sponsors
3. Accessible to refugees in most urgent need of resettlement
4. Engages a broad cross-section of the Australian community
5. Provides a way of expanding Australia’s resettlement program

We encourage other organisations to join this open and on-going pledge to see this vision realised before the next Global Refugee Forum in 2023.