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Over the past few years, Amnesty International offices on four continents have been working to support refugees in a way and on a scale never seen before. The goal? To increase the number of people who can start their lives in a safe country and improve the ‘welcome’ that they experience on arrival. The method? Community sponsorship.
Australia doesn’t currently have a fair and affordable community refugee sponsorship program. In 2017, it introduced the ‘Community Support Program’ which enables individuals to privately sponsor refugees. Despite its promising name the program has some very significant design flaws which prevent it from generating the benefits that other countries are achieving through more affordable and accessible programs. It needs to be reformed or replaced with a better scheme, inspired by the successful program in Canada and those emerging in a number of other countries around the world – like the United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany.