Naomi Alboim - New Directions in Refugee Re-Settlement
Naomi Alboim - New Directions in Refugee Re-Settlement
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Naomi Alboim - New Directions in Refugee Re-Settlement
A proposal by Naomi Alboim, Howard Adelman and Mike Molloy
OCASI Summit October 29, 2014
November and January Workshops at the Centre for Refugee Studies on the Private Sponsorship Program connected to the Indochinese Refugee Movement
Decision to produce a paper to build on workshop discussions regarding lessons learned and applicability going forward
Recommend new directions for Canada’s refugee resettlement program
Stimulate discussion to test ideas
Facilitate family reunification for refugees in Canada
Expand Private Sponsorship
Improve quality of support for GARS
Enhance refugee labour market integration
Resettlement opportunities are a rare commodity
According to UNHCR:
690,915 refugees need resettlement
2014 referred caseload – 94,113 ( excludes Syrians)
Resettlement country capacity – 80,0000
2013 Top three (HCR monitored departures)
Growing need for resettlement of Syrians
Canada has not yet responded to UNHCR call for 100,000 places
Created by the 1976 Act & 1978 Regulations to increase Canada’s resettlement capacity
Freedom of choice
Indochinese Refugee Crisis:
June 1979: government requests sponsorship for 21,000 refugees
December 1980: 39,000 refugees sponsored by civil society, vast majority assigned by matching centre
Canada’s refugee resettlement program changed to “most in need” rather than “ability to settle”
Closer alignment with UNHCR resettlement priorities
Harder cases with greater needs on arrival
Women/girls at risk
Legal/physical protection needs
Protracted refugee situations without alternative durable solutions
No avenue for refugees accepted by Canada to reunite with parents, siblings or other relatives (Cancelation of Assisted Relative refugee category)
Reuniting refugee families should be a societal priority
Private sponsors responded to demand – primary focus on family reunification
Relatives bear much of the cost and effort of resettling PSRs
As the relatives already assume much of the responsibility and
Reunited refugee families achieve superior settlement outcomes
Create a refugee family reunification category for family members who need protection?
Create a privately funded guarantee scheme to backstop refugees applying for their family members? (Winnipeg and ISIS Nova Scotia Prototypes)
Would it be possible or desirable to reorient more sponsors towards UNHCR identified cases (ie. Blended/ Visa Office Referrals: B/VORs) if refugee family reunification was facilitated through a government category/program?
Critical to maintain fundamentals:
Additionality not replacing government assisted refugees
Allowing for continuation of named refugees
Allowing for freedom of choice
Can we expand the sponsorship community beyond faith and ethnic communities?
Possibility of re-introducing matching formula to increase number of refugees?
Should we create a new national charitable organization to complement the work of SAHs to raise awareness and broaden participation within Canadian society, experiment with social media as a recruitment /funding tool and perhaps administer the fund to backstop refugee family reunification?
Continued humanitarian focus on UNHCR identified cases, protracted refugee situations etc. should be continued
Failure to meet GAR targets in recent years is worrisome and needs to be addressed
Capability of RAP organizations settling GARs is impressive but funding has not kept up with needs
Would settlement outcomes be improved for GARs if something like the Host/Community Connections program was renewed to support the work of RAP workers and broaden the social circle of newly arrived GARs?
Refugees span a continuum of complexity, health/social/linguistic needs and skill levels
While rescue and protection needs must be primary selection criteria, all refugees eventually need jobs
Can language and labour market orientation training begin before the refugees arrive? (adapt CIIP, IOM models)
Can employers who currently rely on Temporary Foreign Workers to fill ongoing jobs be encouraged to cooperate with sponsors, government and community agencies to hire refugees instead?
Over 300,000 TFWs in Canada; more than 20,000 in low skilled occupations
Indicates there are permanent jobs that could go to refugees
Changes to the TFW Program, particularly related to low-skilled jobs, offer opportunities to work with employers
Benefits to substituting refugees (permanent residents ) for TFWs for refugees, sponsors, employers, communities
What supports to employers and refugees would be necessary to ensure success? What role can sponsors and settlement agencies play?
Opportunity to test models in pilots?
Paper circulated to key stakeholders: positive feedback (Tokyo UNHCR)
Presentations at National Metropolis Conference, CCR, SAHA, Maytree
Halifax ISIS May 28
Calgary CCIS June 3
CIC, ESDC, and provincial reps attended meetings
Tourism, Food Processing, and Agriculture Sector Councils consulted and participated in meetings
Senior Provincial reps in Nova Scotia and Alberta briefed
CIC and ESDC senior officials briefed
CCIS Calgary and ISIS Halifax interested in anchoring pilot projects
Rural areas, small towns losing population: interest in attracting/retaining new population
SAHs: dedicated but frustrated: delays, red tape, central processing, quotas
Settlement agencies: multi-skilled, well led, deeply embedded in communities, respected by employers
TFW Program: controversial, expensive and time consuming for employers. Communities want permanent residents
Employers: willing to be involved in pilots with refugees and cooperate with settlement agencies but referral mechanism must be simple, effective
Pilot Projects: have resource implications and will need government support but must be designed locally. One size will not fit all.
Substantial potential in tourism, agricultural and food processing sectors.
Employers and refugees would need some support to ensure success.
Settlement/RAP agencies have capacity and credibility to organize support
Identify and fund capable RAP/Settlement organization to design, implement, coordinate and evaluate
Target community(s) with sustained requirement for workers (eg. agriculture, tourism, food processing) and seeking to off set population loss
Create coalition: Employers, Fed/ Prov/ Local Govt, Civil society, Sponsoring entity (existing or to be created with SAH support).
Employer identification of jobs and required skills
Community support obtained for refugee clusters to be settled
Blended VORs reviewed by sponsor groups/settlement agency and selected for settlement in clusters
Labour market entry/basic language training by settlement/LINC agency
Cultural training to employer and workforce/trouble shooting by settlement agency
Ongoing support to refugees by sponsors and settlement agency
On-site occupation specific language training by LINC agency
Workplace training by employer perhaps with support from Province or Canadian Jobs Grant
Certificates, promotion and evaluation
Federal and provincial governments - set broad objectives, fund lead agency to design, implement and evaluate pilot .
RAP/Settlement Lead Agency – overall coordination, needs identification, capacity building , training for employer, community and refugees
Employer – permanent jobs, competitive wages; accommodate orientation for existing staff; accommodate skills and job specific language training on site
CIC – financial support for first six months or until families are self sufficient
Sponsor- reception, accommodation, orientation, financial support for second six months or until families self sufficient. Monitoring and advocacy for refugees
Community – support sponsor, raise public awareness about the refugees, assist integration of refugee families
Government policy and program framework, BVOR selection and timely processing, program support and funding
Local design and implementation – one size does not fit all
Experienced lead agency to implement in partnership with local partners
Employer- Sponsor – Community partnership
Sufficient flow of refugee clusters and kinship groups to create sustainable communities
CCIS Calgary and ISIS Halifax willing to take lead in developing and delivering pilots
Employers from hospitality, agricultural and food processing sectors in Nova Scotia and southern Alberta are interested ( design, training and hiring)
Provinces are supportive
ESDC willing to entertain proposals
CIC RFP for pre-arrival orientation for refugees
CIC funding for a few projects in West, more possible:
Eg. Calgary: 50 female refugees being trained for the food/restaurant sector in partnership with Subway, Tim Horton's A+W. $400K project over 2 years includes language training, soft skills, food safety.
Build on labour market integration work underway for refugees already in Canada. Develop more projects.
Implement labour market integration model with clusters of refugees still overseas but destined to Canada
Expand discussions beyond Alberta and Nova Scotia? Manitoba? BC? Ontario?
More overseas language training and employment orientation for refugees in process
Continue to push for refugee family reunification program (start with Syria?)
Explore national refugee family guarantee fund
Explore new national NGO to expand private sponsorship participation by Canadians in partnership with SAH
Encourage more sponsors to focus on UN identified refugees
Improve GAR integration by strengthening RAP
Continue to push for Canada’s increased response to UNHCR request for spaces for Syrians