Better refugee sponsorship in Australia
It’s time for a community-led solution for refugees that really works, is fair and accessible. We’re calling on the Australian Government to expand its current community sponsorship program for refugees and make it fairer for everyone to participate in.Read More
My New Neighbour:
a people-powered campaign for better community sponsorship
What is community sponsorship for refugees?
The Australian Government has recently introduced a community sponsorship program. It allows people in Australia to put their hand up and ‘sponsor’ a refugee to come live here.
The program means that organisations like a local government, church group or business can choose to ‘sponsor’ a refugee, and maybe even their family, to rebuild their lives in Australia.
Community sponsors help with the costs of bringing the person to Australia, help them find housing and employment and make them feel welcome in the community.
It’s time for a community-led solution for refugees that really works, is fair and accessible.
What are the benefits?
When implemented properly, community sponsorship:
- creates more opportunities for refugees to find safety and rebuild their lives;
- provides newcomers with an established network, helping them adapt to their new life
- brings diversity and valuable skills into our communities.
In the last 40 years, Canadians have welcomed over 280,000 refugees into their neighbourhoods through community-led sponsorship. These people arrived in Canada in addition to their government’s annual humanitarian intake, thanks to the efforts of community groups, families and individuals.
It is crucial any sponsorship program be in addition to Australia’s current humanitarian program.Close
What is Amnesty calling for?
We're calling for the Australian Government to make its sponsorship program affordable and accessible, and to ensure that sponsorship expands how many people Australia helps.About Community Sponsorship
The issue In Depth
What does the Australian government need to do?
There are significant flaws in the Australian Government’s current community sponsorship program for refugees.
- Every time a community group successfully sponsors a refugee through the community sponsorship program, our government reduces Australia’s humanitarian intake quota.
- The high costs for sponsors and refugees mean that not everyone who wants to take part can do so. In comparison to Canada, Australia’s program is three times as expensive.
How will we achieve change?
We’re gathering mass support from Australians for a fairer refugee sponsorship program. Every voice counts – please sign the online petition to the Australian Immigration Minister, calling for a fairer community sponsorship program.
Dedicated Amnesty supporters around the country are working to influence local councils in support of fairer refugee sponsorship. In turn, supporting local councils can work to influence State and Federal MPs.
None of this happens alone. Our many Amnesty supporters are working to make fairer refugee sponsorship possible alongside many like-minded organisations, including as part of the Community Refugee Sponsorship Initiative (CRSI).
According to the Amnesty International Australia Human Rights Barometer 2021:
- 62% of Australians do not support the level of expenditure required to detain asylum seekers ($9 billion+ over the past 8 years) and 52% said they support resettling asylum seekers in Australia if they were found to be refugees.
- 55% of Australians support letting communities that have the resources, sponsor refugees and only 18% were against the idea.
Meet the champions
The Refugee Advisory Group are courageous individuals with lived experiences as refugees in Australia. The advisory group help set the direction for our campaigns for the rights of refugees and asylum seekers.About the Refugee Avisory Group
Meet the champions for refugee sponsorship
Amnesty International Australia’s Refugee Advisory Group guides our work on refugee and asylum seeker rights.
Having overcome the difficulties of escaping their homelands and resettling in Australia, they now generously share their expertise on supporting and empowering refugees who have experienced, and may still be experiencing, traumatic and challenging situations.
Read more: Meet Amnesty’s Refugee Advisory Group.
Who else supports community sponsorship?
A growing list of organisations, councils and individuals are showing their support for a better community sponsorship program.Read More
The allies for community sponsorship
Alongside thousands of people across Australia,many organisations, councils and sporting clubs have now added their voice for a better community sponsorship program for Australia.
Know a local organisation, school, university or council who could join the campaign? Read more about being a ‘My New Neighbour’ partner.