One-Year Anniversary of the Welcome Corps

One-Year Anniversary of the Welcome Corps

The Department of State, in collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services, is pleased to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Welcome Corps, our private sponsorship program that empowers everyday Americans to welcome refugees arriving through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP).  Welcome Corps sponsors support refugees’ resettlement and integration as they build new lives in the United States.  Through this service opportunity, more than 15,000 Americans have already applied to sponsor more than 7,000 refugees through the Welcome Corps, exceeding our mobilization goal for the program’s first year.

In the Welcome Corps’ first year:

  • More than 100 sponsor groups from 32 states have signed up to be matched with refugees in need of resettlement support. Sponsors welcomed the first refugee arrivals on World Refugee Day in June 2023 and have since welcomed nearly 100 refugees from around the world.
  • More than 68,000 individuals from across the country have signed up to learn more about refugee sponsorship through the Welcome Corps, and nearly 50,000 have attended information sessions and completed training.
  • The Department of State introduced the Welcome Corps on Campus, a higher education sponsorship initiative that enables U.S. colleges and universities to play a leading role in resettling refugee students.
  • In September, we made it possible for sponsors to indicate the characteristics of refugees they are best able to support, expressing preference for speakers of specific languages, nationalities, or family size. For example, sponsors from veterans’ organizations can indicate a specific interest in sponsoring Afghan or Iraqi refugees, or Returned Peace Corps Volunteers can sponsor refugees from their country of service.
  • The Welcome Corps recently expanded to make it possible for Americans to apply to refer specific refugees for resettlement in the United States directly to the USRAP. More information on how Americans can sponsor a refugee they know, including refugee eligibility criteria, is available on WelcomeCorps.org.

In 2024, the Department of State will launch a labor sponsorship pathway called Welcome Corps at Work, through which skilled refugees can be matched with U.S. employers in industries such as hospitality, healthcare, and technology.  With a job offer in hand, these refugees will be referred to the USRAP and receive support upon arrival from private sponsors in the community of their employer.

In its second year, the Welcome Corps is asking even more sponsors to answer the call to welcome refugees and change lives, including their own.  To learn more about the Welcome Corps, to sign up for updates, or to find information about becoming a sponsor, please visit WelcomeCorps.org.

The Welcome Corps is one of the many ways we are expanding our capacity to provide a new beginning to more refugees and meeting the Biden Administration’s goal of admitting 125,000 refugees in Fiscal Year 2024.  In groups of five or more, adult U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents support refugees in building new lives in the United States by securing and preparing initial housing, greeting refugees at the airport, enrolling children in school, helping adults find employment, and forging ties to their new communities. All refugees arriving in the United States through the Welcome Corps have successfully completed all steps in the U.S. government refugee resettlement process, including passing extensive security screening and other vetting.  By virtue of their refugee status, they are authorized to work and have access to key public benefits.  They can eventually apply for lawful permanent residence and U.S. citizenship.  Access to the USRAP and support from the Welcome Corps is free of charge for refugees.  Refugees should not pay anyone to refer their case to the U.S. government or to be matched with private sponsors.

The Welcome Corps was launched by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) in January 2023.  The Department funds a consortium of non-profit organizations with expertise in refugee resettlement, protection, and integration to implement the Welcome Corps under a cooperative agreement.

Official news published at https://www.state.gov/one-year-anniversary-of-the-welcome-corps/

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