The State Refugee Office works closely with the two Vermont voluntary resettlement agencies, US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) and our newest agency - the Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC) - as well as other area partners (AALV, Age Well, Burlington, and Winooski School Districts) to support refugee integration.
These nonprofit voluntary resettlement agencies receive public and private funding and agree to resettle a number of refugees at the start of the fiscal year based on their capacity to provide services for new arrivals and the number of refugees coming into the United States. Additional money is provided to states by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement to provide self-sufficiency services.
The mission of the State Refugee Office is to promote and provide a safe and welcoming home for refugees and immigrants, and to promote their full participation as self-sufficient individuals and families in the economic, social, and civic life of Vermont. Eligible groups include Afghan and Iraqi Special Immigrant Visa Holders, Amerasians, Asylees, Cuban/Haitian Entrants, Human Trafficking Victims, Legal Permanent Residents, and Refugees.
The State Refugee Office is part of the Agency of Human Services and works through a network of service providers in Vermont to meet the educational, cultural, and linguistic needs of refugees and immigrants.
News & Updates
New arrivals continue to come to Vermont through the traditional resettlement pathway, which is in connection to one of the state’s Refugee Resettlement Agencies, USCRI Vermont and ECDC. A new and expanding resettlement pathway is via connection to private sponsors/financial supporters. Sponsors/financial sponsors who are supporting these newcomers have agreed through the sponsor process to provide some financial and other supports for newly arriving guests. This includes taking a lead role in assisting with securing initial housing and basic needs, applying for federal or state benefits, ensuring healthcare and medical needs are met, and accessing education.
Private sponsorship programs are operating independently from state Refugee Offices and their coordinated partnerships with resettlement agencies. However, the Vermont Refugee Office is available to provide any needed support or guidance to sponsors and/or beneficiaries in connecting with needed services and programs. Additionally, the state’s refugee resettlement agencies can and will assist with services after the initial 90 days of resettlement.
Currently, there are three main sponsor programs that newcomers may arrive through:
1. Welcome Corps: Welcome Corps is a new federal private sponsorship program. Groups of at least five individuals can apply to privately sponsor refugees by securing and preparing initial housing, enrolling children in school, and helping adults find employment.
2. Uniting for Ukraine | USCIS: Uniting for Ukraine provides a pathway for Ukrainian citizens and their immediate family members who are outside the United States to come to the United States and stay temporarily in a 2-year period of parole. Ukrainians participating in Uniting for Ukraine must have a sponsor/supporter in the United States who agrees to provide them with financial support for the duration of their stay in the United States.
3. Processes for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans | USCIS: Individuals participating in this program must have a supporter in the United States who agrees to provide them with financial support for the duration of their parole in the United States. Individuals eligible for consideration for parole under this program are Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan, or Venezuelan nationals and their immediate family members. Cubans and Haitians paroled under this new supporter-based parole process are eligible for Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) refugee benefits and services and are eligible to apply for work authorization and a Social Security number. Nicaraguan and Venezuelan parolees are not currently eligible for ORR-funded refugee benefits and services but are eligible to apply for work authorization and a Social Security number.
How Can I Help?
If you are interested in helping newly arriving refugee families settle into Vermont by volunteering, donating items, or donating money, please follow the links below.
In Chittenden County and surrounding areas, you can donate to or volunteer with USCRI:
- Volunteer or offer assistance with U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) please email firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer.
- Donate to Services for Vermont Refugees
In Brattleboro and surrounding areas, you can donate to or volunteer with ECDC and partners:
- Donate (ecdcus.org)
- Interest Form: Brattleboro Community Support for Refugees, Humanitarian Parolees, and Asylum Seekers google.com
Resources for Refugee Service Providers
- Vermont Refugee Medical Screening Form, updated 11/8/2022 (Domestic Health Assessment/DHA). Health care providers that have questions or are interested in participating in Vermont's medical screening program can contact the Refugee Health Program for more information: Allie Perline, Refugee Health Coordinator, Allison.Perline@Vermont.gov. (Note that the DHA is formatted as a dynamic form. These forms are not compatible with many of the internet browser previews. See Dynamic PDF Forms and Web Browser Incompatibility for more information).
- Who are Refugees and How Do They Arrive in the United States?
- Switchboard is a technical assistance organization funded by The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to provide free consultation and training to U.S. resettlement agencies and affiliates, state agencies, community-based organizations, and others. This includes support by phone or email, virtual training, and, where feasible, in-person training. They also maintain a research database to help refugee service providers develop and implement programs based on the best available evidence. They publish periodic evidence summaries that compile relevant research and implications for practice within programs serving refugees and other ORR-eligible populations.
- A Round-up of Resources for Serving Afghan Evacuees
- Update I-693 Covid-Vaccine
- Afghan Cultural Quick Reference Guide
- Legal Resources for Afghan
English Language Instruction: Resettlement agencies and community partners provide English Language Training. Classes are designed to help refugees achieve competencies in key linguistic areas, preparing them to meet their everyday language needs at work and in community life.
- English Language and Citizenship Classes Winter 2022
- Parent University Classes
- Northeast Kingdom Learning Services: https://neklsvt.org/adult-education-in-vermont/
- Central Vermont Adult Basic Education: https://cvabe.org/english-language/
- The Tutorial Center: https://tutoringvermont.org/full-services-list/#toggle-id-7
- Vermont Adult Learning: https://vtadultlearning.org/services/#english-language-learning-ell
- Refugee Cash Assistance: Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA): Funds are designed to assist refugees during their 8-month, initial resettlement period. All refugees are entitled to Refugee Cash Assistance for their first eight months in the US. To be eligible for RCA, however, a refugee must be ineligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF - also called Reach Up in Vermont) and other cash support programs.
- Refugee Medical Assistance: Most refugees are eligible to apply for Medicaid, in some cases where refugees do not meet Medicaid eligibility, Refugee Medical Assistance is provided.
Applying for Medicaid and other Health Insurance: To get health insurance from Vermont Health Connect, immigrants must have eligible immigration status. This means they must be in the U.S. legally. This includes refugees, asylees, victims of trafficking, and many others. To learn more, please visit https://dvha.vermont.gov/information-for-non-citizens
Survivors of Torture and Trauma: Connecting Cultures is a program that helps people who have been tortured in another country and are now living in the United States. It is dedicated to providing mental health services to refugees, new Americans, and asylum seekers across the lifespan. They serve clients at any point in their re-settlement and/or citizenship process – there is no time limit for receiving services. To learn more or to get a referral for services please visit WHO | ConnectingCultures (connectingculturesvt.org)
- Employment Services: Employment services include an assessment of vocational skills, job development, job placement, and follow-up services with local employers. Refugees often find full-time employment within the first two or three months of arrival.