Common Questions


Is my group eligible to sponsor?

This checklist is based on the requirements of the first pilot. It is likely that the expanded pilot will have similar requirements, but there may be changes.


Have previous experience working with refugees and/or vulnerable people
Willing to enter into a two year agreement with the government
If you can tick all of these boxes you may be eligible to become a sponsor
Have a legal structure for your group or be
connected to one
Have the resources and commitment to meet
settlement responsibilities

How is community  sponsorship different from other refugee  


Many refugees in New Zealand are resettled through the government funded programme. A smaller number are granted visas through family reunification and an even smaller number are granted asylum. Community Sponsorship is additional to these pathways and is unique because local communities and people are wholly responsible for the resettlement.


How can I apply to resettle refugees via community


You can express your interest in participating in the programme or finding out more information by contacting Immigration New Zealand at

Who is allowed to sponsor and welcome refugees?

In other countries where there is community sponsorship, there is a wide variety of groups that welcome refugees to their place. Religious organisations, workplaces, schools, sports clubs, residents associations: any group of people that meet the criteria could apply to become sponsors.  


Can we choose the refugees we want to sponsor?

Potentially. Naming or nominating a refugee can be done if a group has a connection with a refugee that they wish to sponsor. However the candidate has to meet government criteria. There was one case of successful naming in the first pilot.


How much might it cost to sponsor?

​​The main commitment is in time and energy. However there are some financial costs. In the first pilot these varied considerably between groups depending on what each group decided to pay for and donations. The main costs are in the first 3 months. Pilot sponsors spent between $5000 and $18,000 in this time. 


Is my group ready to sponsor?


A key responsibility of Community Sponsorship is implementing a settlement plan with the refugees. A Settlement Plan records all the actions that are needed to help a newcomer settle into Aotearoa. Below is an illustration of some of the aspects that could be in a Settlement Plan. The example was created using common components from the New Zealand pilot and international examples.  You can use the headings as guiding points for things that are helpful to think about as part of preparation.

Its also helpful to think about your expectations, motivations, capacity and values - and those of others in your group. Why do you want to sponsor refugees? Discussing these things with your group helps you develop mutual trust and honesty, which in turn will help you to welcome the newcomers.


What are your unspoken expectations for sponsorship? Are they fair and/or realistic? What will you do if the refugees respond or act in unexpected ways?




​​​What underpins your ‘why’ for sponsoring? How might this influence your sponsorship journey positively and negatively?



What is the realistic capacity of your group? Who is best able to fill certain roles? What gaps in resources or knowledge do you have? Think about the network of people that you know- they may be able to assist in different ways.




What values will inform your actions? E.g. Confidentiality, friendship, empowerment? Does everyone in your group have similar values?  How will you manage possible conflicts in values?