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What does the Community Refugee Sponsorship Journey involve?

First, your organisation should consider whether the Community Refugee Sponsorship (CORS) programme is the right thing to do.

Once your organisation decides to apply to becoming an approved sponsoring organisation (Approved Sponsor), your application will be assessed by Immigration New Zealand and a Select Panel.

If your organisation is successfully approved as an Approved Sponsor, the Immigration process for the Sponsored Refugee Application Process starts.


This is when your journey as an Approved Sponsor really begins:

  1. Supporting the refugee whānau/individual through the immigration application process;

  2.  Getting your group ready (training);

  3. Preparing for arrival, welcome and orientation; and finally

  4. The arrival of the refugee whānau/individual and ongoing support for sponsored refugees for the first two years of settlement.

For each of the above steps through your sponsorship journey, coaching, information, training and resources are available. HOST International Aotearoa (HOST), the umbrella organisation, will be available to answer any questions you may have.

HOST will also work alongside Approved Sponsors and sponsored refugees to ensure you have the tools and resources your staff and volunteers require to support the successful settlement of refugees.

We have divided the Community Refugee Sponsorship process into four phases to make the process easier to understand. The phases are outlined in chronological order (although some steps may start concurrently) to guide you step-by-step through the Community Refugee Sponsorship journey.

We hope you will enjoy the experience of coming on board as an Approved Sponsor.


“There are so many community benefits of bringing people here and working with them. It’s a noble cause.

The positive thing for the whole community is that they really benefit from having people they can support. We focus on an outcome that is highly valued in a way. What can you do? You are helping a family. You see the children integrate very quickly and make that change, you see them flourish and blossom very quickly. You feel you have done something. That’s where you experience real joy."

A previous sponsor group's experience

Four Phase Process

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Application Process

HOST International Aotearoa, the umbrella organisation for the programme will support your organisation and those who will be sponsors during the whole application process.

Your application will be assessed by a panel of experts.

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Post Approval

If your application is approved, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) then works with the UNHCR to locate potentially eligible refugee whānau/individual and support them in their application to this resettlement pathway. HOST International Aotearoa supports this process.

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Pre-Arrival of Refugee Whānau/Individual

HOST International Aotearoa will walk alongside both Approved Sponsors and refugees to offer appropriate resources and training at selected stages during the pre-arrival stage. At this point, Approved Sponsors revisit and action parts of their Settlement Plan.

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Post Arrival of Refugee Whānau/Individual

It's now time to welcome the sponsored refugee whānau/individual to Aotearoa. At this point it's all go. The Settlement Plan gets actioned, and relationships begin to develop. HOST International Aotearoa will be there to support in any way necessary for both Approved Sponsors and the people they are supporting.

Phase 1: Application Process

Consider whether sponsoring a refugee whānau/individual is right for you.

Qualities of an Approved Sponsor:

  • Willing to develop cultural competency to support their work.

  • Motivations to participate in a sponsorship are authentic, and they want to help sponsored refugees have a meaningful settlement experience.

  • Can demonstrate resilience and the ability to be flexible and adaptable

  • Show willingness and intent to engage with mana whenua before the arrive of sponsored refugees and to show reciprocity for cultural support shown by mana whenua.

  • Can demonstrate they understand key requirements around child protection processes and protection of privacy.

  • Are collaborative and easy to work with.

  • Show good emotional intelligence and are willing to grow through the sponsorship programme.

Sponsorship Application

Click here for the Programme Manual:

Click here for the Phase One Application Process Toolkit:

Check the Apply Now page for application criteria and application forms:

Approved Sponsor Process Map

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When you are ready to submit your Approved Sponsor Application for the Community Refugee Sponsorship programme, please check the Phase One Toolkit to ensure you have everything you need to apply.

To submit your application:

Send your completed application to:

Immigration New Zealand

You must include ‘Approved Community Organisation’ in the subject line.

Make sure all required documentation is attached:

  1. Completed and signed Approved Community Organisation Application Form.

  2. Completed Settlement Plan Form

  3. Budget plan, income and expenditure for the last two years, and other financial documents

  4. Completed Child Protection Statement

  5. Evidence of completed e-learning module (Fundamentals of Child Protection course certificate)

  6. Evidence of completed New Zealand Police Vetting (Police Vetting Report)

If your application has been considered and it meets the criteria of the programme you will be notified of your approval in principle.


Before Approved Community Organisation status can be granted, enabling your organisation to nominate or be matched with potential applicant refugees, you will need to enter into a Deed of Agreement for Services with Immigration New Zealand for the provision of settlement services within the required timeframe. If that does not happen, your application will be declined. 


Once the Deed of Agreement for Services has been signed, you are an Approved Sponsor in the Community Refugee Sponsorship programme.


We look forward to working with you in the coming months to prepare for welcoming a refugee whānau/individual into your local communities.

Phase 2: Post Approval

Decide on the sponsorship pathway.

If sponsor organisations are approved, they decide to:

Pathway 1: Nominated pathway

Nominate a refugee whānau/individual who they wish to support 


Pathway 2: Matched pathway

Be matched with a refugee whānau/individual that has been identified by UNHCR. 

Refugee Sponsorship Map

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The Phase Two Post Approval Toolkit will be made available to organisations once they have been approved as sponsors.

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Phase 3: Pre-Arrival of Refugee Whānau/Individual

Training and support

While you prepare for the arrival of the refugee whānau/individual, this is a great time to focus on your core team of supporters.


Training and resources will be available to your group during this time, both online (Communication and Training Hub on Sharepoint for Approved Sponsors) and tailored to your organisation's needs.

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The Phase Three Pre-Arrival Toolkit will be made available to organisations once they have been approved as sponsors.

Phase 4: Post Arrival of Refugee Whānau/Individual

Your organisation is ready to welcome the refugee whānau/individual - first at the airport, then into their home and wider community. Your welcome pack is ready and you can start the orientation.

You will also connect with other Approved Sponsors to share experiences, resources and advice.

A previous sponsor group's experience:

“Sponsoring the families was a brilliant experience. […] overall, it was a pretty amazing experience. I've watched these three families settle into New Zealand and I'm just quite encouraged."

To find out more, watch here:

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The Phase Four Post Arrival Toolkit will be made available to organisations once they have been approved as sponsors.

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