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LEO | Volunteers Needed to Support Refugee Resettlement Efforts in Michigan

Michigan Business Network
February 12, 2024 2:00 PM

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Global Michigan encourages Michiganders to sponsor refugees resettled through the expanded Welcome Corps

LANSING, Mich. – As Welcome Corps celebrates a successful first year, the Office of Global Michigan encourages everyday Michiganders to take advantage of the new option to support a refugee family of their choosing. Global Michigan continues to call for volunteers to welcome and support refugees from around the world seeking freedom and safety through the CHNV program, Uniting for Ukraine and the Welcome Corps

“Programs like the Welcome Corps advance the Office of Global Michigan’s mission to make Michigan the home for opportunity for our immigrant, refugee and ethnic communities,” said Poppy Hernandez, Global Michigan Director and Michigan’s Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer. “Expanded refugee resettlement pathways empower more Michiganders to support our state’s growing refugee population and build a more welcoming and inclusive Michigan for all.” 

To better connect refugees with support, the Welcome Corps recently launched an option for Private Sponsor Groups to identify a specific refugee or refugee family overseas and apply to sponsor their resettlement. 

Under this expanded resettlement pathway, Private Sponsor Groups can:  

  • Apply to be matched with a refugee to sponsor;  
  • Sponsor a refugee who already has a case number for the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program or the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa program;  
  • Refer and sponsor someone who has been registered as a refugee on or before September 30th, 2023, by the UN Refugee Agency or by the government of the country in which they currently live; or
  • Sponsor refugees of Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan or Venezuelan nationality that had a Form I-134 or I-134A already filed on their behalf, prior to September 30th, 2023.   

Sponsors are expected to provide support to newly arrived refugees for 90 days through acts such as greeting refugee newcomers at the airport, securing and preparing initial housing, enrolling children in school and helping adults find employment. Sponsors receive technical support from Private Sponsor Organizations (PSO), which offer hands-on guidance to sponsors and refugees throughout their sponsorship journeys. PSOs represent a diverse range of local, state and national organizations with expertise in refugee resettlement, ranging from traditional non-profit resettlement agencies as well as grassroots community organizations. 

Individuals named on a sponsorship application may be of any nationality and must meet the definition of a refugee under U.S. law, in addition to other criteria. The Refugee Eligibility Tool and program eligibility guidelines are available to help you understand whether the refugees you would like to sponsor through Welcome Corps are likely to be eligible for a referral to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. 

There is substantial evidence indicating that the foreign-born population significantly contributes to the Michigan economy, introducing valuable diversity to the political landscape and enriching our social fabric. Immigrant households in Michigan wield an impressive $18 billion in annual spending power, with approximately 15% of business owners in Southeast Michigan being immigrants.  

Get Involved 

For questions about private sponsorship or other ways to get involved, visit Global Michigan’s webpage for resources to support refugee resettlement or contact LEO-RefugeeServices@michigan.gov. Connect with Michigan’s lead private sponsor organization, Zaman International, at welcomecorps@zamaninternational.org for support with your Welcome Corps application.  

To offer financial support, you can make a direct tax-deductible donation through our charity partner in this effort. Your donation will be directed to the Refugee and Humanitarian Parolee Resettlement Fund to help support newcomers with housing, legal services, interpretation support, education services and support to K-12 children. 


LEO Mission and Vision. Visit Michigan.gov/LEO to learn more.

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