As of September 2023, OCRA has 14 sponsorship applications at various stages of the Government’s refugee processing and approval process. Another 3 applications are currently in preparation. All of these private sponsorship applications are being undertaken with either the United Church or the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa.
Afghanistan/Pakistan – Family of 5 – parents and 3 children
The parents and their 3 daughters, aged 13, 22, and 27, have been in Pakistan since shortly after the fall of the Afghan government. The father was a law professor at Kabul University and taught international institutions and human rights. He also worked for the Afghan government in various legal advisory roles and was in the Afghan cabinet as Minister of Disaster Management. The oldest daughter was pursuing a Masters of Law degree when the government fell. The 22-year-old was pursuing a psychology degree. This family was immediately targeted by the Taliban and their house was ransacked after the government fell. They escaped to Pakistan shortly after the fall of Kabul. They have very limited resources and currently live in difficult conditions as Pakistan does not provide rations or assistance. They cannot work or go to school in Pakistan, are liable to deportation for having crossed the border without a visa, and have no path to permanent residency or citizenship.
We completed the family’s sponsorship applications and were successful in having them expedited under the “Operation Afghan Safety” stream established by IRCC. The applications were submitted to IRCC on September 16th, 2022. The sponsors’ application to sponsor has been approved, the family has been found eligible to come to Canada and we are waiting for security clearances and travel arrangements.
Cost of this sponsorship: $ 47,433
Afghanistan/India – Single man
Omar, age 22, has a civil engineering degree and was pursuing further studies in India when the Taliban overthrew the Afghan government. He is unable to return to Afghanistan as his father had worked with the UN and NATO and his family is under constant threat. While he was living in Afghanistan, Omar worked with the Afghanistan Rehabilitation and Development Agency, which supported women’s education programs and medical programs for LGBTQ. Omar has no path to permanent residence or citizenship in India and is not permitted to work or attend school.
We completed a sponsorship application and were successful in getting it expedited through the “Operation Afghan Safety” process. The application has been submitted to IRCC and the sponsor’s application to sponsor was approved in August, 2022. The next step is the refugee determination by a Canadian Embassy visa office in India. We are currently making urgent enquiries through the Ottawa Centre Member of Parliament and with IRCC concerning the lack of action since August 2022 by the Visa Office in New Delhi on this application.
Cost of this sponsorship: $ 13,000
Afghanistan/Iran – Single woman
This young woman, age 20, was forced to flee with her family to Iran when the Taliban took over because her father had been engaged in legal work for international agencies. With OCRA’s help, this sponsorship was organized and funded by a group of young people in Ottawa, all of whom are themselves former refugees. We were successful in having the application expedited under the “Operation Afghan Safety” process. The application to sponsor was approved in November 2022 and we are awaiting refugee determination by the Canadian Embassy visa office in Ankara.
Cost of this sponsorship: $14,800
Afghanistan/Pakistan – Family of 4 – parents and 2 children
Both parents are doctors who worked in women’s reproductive health in Afghanistan. Their clinics were bombed and the father was shot after the Taliban takeover. They fled to Pakistan where they continue to live in fear. This application has been expedited under the “Operation Afghan Safety” process. Sponsor approval was obtained in February 2023. The family has been found eligible to come to Canada and we are currently awaiting medical and security clearances and travel to Canada.
Cost of this sponsorship: $30,000
Afghanistan/Pakistan – single woman
This young woman is a physician who was prohibited from practicing medicine following the Taliban takeover. Her life has been threatened many times and she has barely escaped efforts to kill her. This application has been expedited under the “Operation Afghan Safety” process. Sponsor approval was obtained in February 2023. She has been found eligible to come to Canada and we are currently awaiting security and medical clearances, then travel to Canada.
Cost of this sponsorship: $13,000
Afghanistan/Pakistan – Family of 2
This application is for the parents of the doctors above. They were able to escape Afghanistan after serious threats to the father, a civil engineer who worked for many years for UNOPS. We have received approval to expedite this application in the “Operation Afghan Safety” stream. The application has been submitted to the Government and sponsor approval was obtained in February 2023. The coupe has been found eligible to come to Canada and we are awaiting medical and security clearances and subsequent travel to Canada.
Cost of this application: $23,450
Afghanistan/Pakistan – Family of 3
This Hazara family is now in Pakistan. Due to the nature of their work in Afghanistan, they continue to live in fear. OCRA is working with an Australian group to help get this family to Canada. The sponsorship application was submitted and approved in November 2022. The family has been found eligible for admission to Canada and we are currently awaiting security clearances and subsequent travel to Canada.
Cost of this application: $30,000
Syria/Turkey – Family of 5 – parents and 3 children
The family has been in Turkey since fleeing Syria. This application went to the United Church in November 2020. The government approved the sponsors’ application to sponsor in November 2021. The second part of the application –the application for refugee determination — was referred to the Canadian Embassy Visa Office in Turkey in November 2021. Travel to Canada awaits the determination at the Embassy, a step that could take weeks, months or even years.
Cost of this sponsorship: $ 35,000
Iran/Australia – Family of 5 – parents and 3 children
This family, from Iran, originally fled to Australia. The family survived a harrowing boat trip to Australia after experiencing torture in Iran, only to find that the Australian government just weeks earlier had declared that no arrival by boat would ever be permitted to settle in Australia. They endured locked and community detention in Australia since 2013.
OCRA is working with an Australian refugee support group on this sponsorship, which went to the Church in March 2021. The application was filed with the government in September 2021, the earliest date “application space” became available. The sponsors’ application to sponsor was approved in January 2022. The family was interviewed by the Visa Office at the Canadian Embassy in March 2022. Travel authorization was issued in December 2022 and the family arrived in Ottawa in January 2023.
Cost of this sponsorship: $ 40,000
Syria/Lebanon – Single woman
Originally from Syria, this single woman in her early 20’s fled to Lebanon. OCRA assisted with the application by the family of this young woman who experienced increasingly fragile conditions in Lebanon where rations and allowances from UNHCR have been reduced. She is the victim of domestic abuse and in circumstances where there are significant dangers for young refugee women.
The application was sent to the Church in November 2020 and was filed with the Government in September 2021, the earliest that “application space” became available. Our sponsorship was approved on March 15, 2022, and the refugee application was sent to the Canadian Embassy in Beirut. This young woman’s refugee application was accepted in December 2022 and she arrived in Ottawa to rejoin her family on January 24, 2023.
Sponsorship cost: $ 16,500
Syria/Jordan – Family of 6 – parents and 4 children
OCRA is assisting with the sponsorship of this young family, originally from Syria. The family has close relatives in Ottawa. Conditions for refugees in Jordan have deteriorated greatly. The father lost his employment in Jordan when his employer refused to pay the increased fees for a refugee work permit levied by Jordan. Rations from UNHCR and charities have been cut so the father has been forced into covert work to feed the family, at the risk of deportation if caught.
The application was provided to the Church in November 2020 but could not be sent to the government until September 2021 when “application space” was available. Approval of our sponsorship application was issued in March 2022 and we are awaiting a rfugee determination by the Canadian Embassy Visa Office in Aman, Jordan.
Cost of this sponsorship is $ 35,000
Syria/Jordan – Mother and 2 children / Son and family of 4
In December 2021, we prepared applications to sponsor and for refugee status on behalf of a mother and two children from Syria, currently in Irbid, Jordan, and for her son and his family. The father of the family was taken by Syrian intelligence officials in 2012 and has not been heard from since. The mother helped her brothers and sisters and their families shelter in Damascus during the bombing of the southern suburbs. She then fled to Jordan where she again helped to shelter her extended family. The applications were submitted to the Government in December 2022 and January 2023. We are waiting for approval of the sponsorship applications and for subsequent refugee determinations by the Canadian Embassy Visa Office in Aman, Jordan.
Anticipated cost: $ 60,000
Syria/Jordan – Family of 9 – parents and 7 children
We are assisting with the sponsorship of this family, originally from Syria, with close relatives in Ottawa. Conditions for refugees in Jordan have deteriorated greatly. Like many other refugees, the father lost his employment and the family has been forced to rely on charity from UNHCR and relatives. The application was submitted to the United Church in September 2022 and filed with the Federal Government in December 2022. Approval of the sponsorship application was obtained in March 2023 and we are awaiting refugee determination by the Canadian Embassy Visa Office in Aman, Jordan.
Cost of this sponsorship: $ 64,350
Afghanistan/Pakistan – Family of 7
This family group consists of a human rights advocate, his wife and 3 children, and his sister and mother. The primary applicant is a medical doctor who worked in public health. He later worked with Canada on local governance, democracy-building and peace-visioning in high-risk areas. His sister worked with international NGOs. Both were targeted before the Taliban takeover for their association with Canada and “foreign interests”. Following the Taliban takeover, they were forced to flee to avoid arrest and likely death. This family has been accepted under the Operation Afghan Safety stream for expedited processing. The sponsorship applications for this family group were submitted to the Government and sponsorship approval was obtained in March 2023. We are awaiting refugee determination by the Canadian Embassy Visa Office in Pakistan.
Cost of this sponsorship: $ 66,100
Afghanistan/Pakistan – Single Woman
This young Hazara woman was a journalist and film maker and has been featured in an award-winning documentary. She was in severe danger after the Taliban takeover and was forced into hiding where she was forced to endure gender-based violence. She fled to Pakistan in January 2023 and was accepted under the Operation Afghan Safety stream for expedited processing. This application was submitted in April 2023. We are currently waiting for sponsorship approval and a refugee determination by the Canadian Embassy Visa Office in Pakistan.
Cost of this sponsorship: $ 22,520
Afghanistan/Pakistan – Single Father and 2 children
OCRA is working with a group in Australia to sponsor this Hazara family comprised of a young Afghan father and his 2 daughters, aged 1 and 3. The girl’s mother, a TV producer and women’s rights activist was seized off the street in Kabul in July 2022 and has not been heard from since. Efforts to find his wife led to the father being threatened by the Taliban-led police, who threatened to take away his children. He fled to Pakistan with his daughters to protect them. This sponsorship application was sent to the Anglican Diocese in March 2023 and we are waiting for “application space” and an OAS space to become available.
Cost of this sponsorship: $ 34,000
Afghanistan/Pakistan – Brother and Sister
This brother and sister, aged 30 and 31, fled to Pakistan in November 2022 after facing serious threats of imminent arrest in Afghanistan. The sister is a math teacher who continued to teach her female students from her home after the Taliban takeover. She was eventually forced to flee to Pakistan Her brother was a volunteer leader in NGO programs to empower marginalized youth and an advocate on youth-oriented issued in his district as well as being active in a local Human Rights Defender network. Following the Taliban takeover in August 2021, he was the target of an intensive search which resulted in the detention of other family members. In November 2022, he eventually escaped to Pakistan, where he and his sister remain in hiding due to police action against Afghan refugees. Operation Afghan Safety applications were submitted to the Anglican Diocese in March 2023 and refugee applications will be sent to the Diocese in April 2023. We will then await for an “application space” or an “Operation Afghan Safety space” to become available.
Cost of this sponsorship: $ 35,537
Afghanistan/Iran – Family of 4
The father in this family was a lawyer in Kabul. On account of his legal work involving western organizations, he was seriously assaulted and, following the Taliban takeover, he was labelled a foreign spy. Colleagues in his law office were arrested and he and his family were forced into hiding to evade security forces. Eventually, they were able to obtain a visa that allowed them to travel to Iran. This family’s oldest daughter is already being sponsored by OCRA and a group of young people. We were grateful to get funding from a philanthropic foundation in Australia to enable us to apply to bring the rest of the family to Canada. This application will be sent to the Anglican Diocese in April 2023. Submission to the Government will wait until “application space” becomes available.
Cost of this sponsorship: $ 41,040