E.g., 12/06/2023
E.g., 12/06/2023
Why Matching Matters: Improving Outcomes in Refugee Sponsorship and Complementary Pathways
Policy Briefs
October 2023

Why Matching Matters: Improving Outcomes in Refugee Sponsorship and Complementary Pathways

Community sponsorship programs and the use of complementary pathways (such as education and labor) to receive refugee newcomers have attracted significant attention in recent years as ways to broaden protection options for refugees beyond traditional resettlement. These programs vary considerably in their design, but all involve receiving communities directly in supporting refugees’ reception and integration. The success of these programs thus depends on the closeness of fit between arriving refugees’ characteristics, the supports and services available in the communities where they settle, and the quality of their relationships with their sponsors, hosts, mentors, or employers.

This policy brief explores the evolution of community sponsorship, complementary pathways, and resettlement programs’ approaches to matching refugees with sponsors or receiving communities, and highlights opportunities for further innovation. The analysis includes a close look at novel approaches to matching developed by initiatives responding to high-profile emergencies, including the Ukrainian displacement crisis, as well as at the potential of data and technological tools to support and scale up matching operations and contribute to high-quality monitoring and evaluation.

This MPI Europe study is part of the Building Capacity for Private Sponsorship in the European Union (CAPS-EU) Project, which aims to build the capacity of European, national, and local governments and nongovernmental stakeholders to design, implement, sustain, and scale up community sponsorship programs for refugees.

Table of Contents 

1  Introduction

2  The Role of Matching in Community Sponsorship and Resettlement
A. Evidence on the Benefits of Strong Relationships for Integration Outcomes
B. The Shortfalls of Government-Led Assignments and Matching
C. Evolution of Old Models and Emergence of New Approaches

3  Innovations in Matching
The Ethical Use of Data and Technology to Support and Scale Matching Initiatives

4  The Value-Add of Sophisticated Matching in the New Resettlement Policy Landscape
A. Facilitating Refugee Agency and a Greater Role for Refugee-led Organizations
B. Scaling Complementary Pathways
C. Contributing to a Growing Evidence Base
D. Capitalizing on Local Resources to Grow Pathways

5  Conclusions

Appendix. Overview of Matching in Selected Programs