Refugee sponsorship in Canada

Refugee sponsorship in Canada is a crucial lifeline for those fleeing war, persecution, and violence. The Canadian government has many resettlement programs and a long history of helping refugees.

Some of Canada’s most well-known refugee sponsorship programs include:

The Government-Assisted Refugees (GAR) program;

Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) program;

The Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) program gives Canadian citizens and permanent residents another option for assisting refugees in starting a new life in Canada.

What is refugee sponsorship

Groups of Canadian citizens, such as religious organizations, cultural organizations, or settlement agencies, act as private sponsors.

There are three types of refugees that they may help sponsor:

Groups of Five (G5):

In Canada, groups of five or more well-off citizens work together to pay for and welcome migrants from other countries.

Community Sponsors:

Refugee sponsorship is supported financially and logistically by local groups or companies in the resettlement location.

Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs):

These incorporated organizations manage and permit Constituent Groups (CGs) to sponsor refugees within their jurisdiction with IRCC approval.

Private sponsorship of refugees in Canada

Through the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) program, private organizations may financially support overseas refugee applicants. The private sponsor of a refugee will last for the duration of your sponsorship, which is often up to a year.

Some of the ways in which you’ll be helping are:

  • Beginning expenditures like adornment and apparel;
  • Recurring bills for things like rent, groceries, and gas on a monthly basis;
  • providing emotional and social assistance to asylum seekers;

For Québec, the method is different. Government-Assisted Refugees (GAR) applicants are screened by Québec authorities. Get Québec program info.

Sponsored refugee Quebec

UNHCR Canada does not choose or change refugee status via resettlement. Other UNHCR offices and resettlement nations like Canada make resettlement decisions.

If you are outside Canada and have questions regarding your case, contact the UNHCR office in your host or asylum country.

Who is eligible

The PSR program sponsors refugees and those with refugee-like circumstances, divided into two categories:

  • Convention Refugees Abroad and;
  • Country of Asylum.

Convention refugee

A Convention refugee is someone who:

  • Has a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, social group, or political opinion.
  • Is outside their countries of nationality.
  • Is seeking resettlement in Canada.
  • Has no other durable solution available.

Country of asylum class

A member of the Country of Asylum class is someone who:

  • Is outside all countries of nationality or habitual residence.
  • Has been affected by civil war, armed conflict, or human rights violations in those countries.
  • Has no other durable solution available.

Eligibility Determination

An officer at an IRCC consulate or embassy conducts interviews with applicants and reviews their supporting materials to determine their eligibility.

To be admitted for resettlement to Canada, refugees have to pass:

  • Medical
  • security and;
  • admissibility exams.

The refugees will also be judged on how well they can settle down in Canada. The immigration officer will decide if the refugee has met these requirements:

  • Canadian family or a sponsor.
  • Be able to speak English or French or learn how to do so.
  • The chance to find work and be creative.

When a family applies, all members’ settlement potential is considered. Those identified as urgently needing protection or being vulnerable by the migration officer are not examined for establishment.

Community sponsors

Community organizations can sponsor refugees to come to Canada. They must offer emotional and financial support for one year.

The refugee must already have recognized refugee status, proven in the sponsorship application.

Community sponsors may only fund refugees approved by:

  • The UNHCR or;
  • the refugee’s foreign government

Who can apply

Community sponsors fund refugees to Canada, such as:

  • Organizations
  • Associations
  • Companies

The community sponsor need not be federally or provincially incorporated. Community sponsors must help refugees during the sponsorship. One-year sponsorships are typical.

Check: Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program

Refugee Sponsorship in Canada

How to apply

Before you apply, check the application package.

To become a community sponsor, you must complete the following three steps:

Choose to sponsor a particular refugee or a visa office-referred refugee.

Community Sponsors may support a refugee or refugee family overseas, such as:

  • Friend;
  • Family members in the community;
  • Refugee recognized by a foreign contact.

This is called “sponsor-referred refugee.”

Refugees referred by sponsors must meet Canadian resettlement standards. You and the refugee apply. After that, an overseas officer determines the eligibility of the application.

Sometimes, you may request a “visa office-referred refugee.”

To sponsor a refugee who has been suggested to you by a visa office, you may use either:

For an international IRCC office to request a profile of a refugee, they have referred email to:

Resettlement Operations Centre in Ottawa (ROC-O)

If your group is interested in sponsoring a regular VOR refugee, you could inform:

The ROC-O will provide all the details you need to complete the Sponsorship Application.

Application package

Everything you need to apply is in this bundle: the application guidance and the forms.

Download and print the application kit.

Before starting:

Fill out these forms:

  • Community Sponsor (CS) [IMM 5663].
  • Sponsor Assessment [IMM 5492].
  • Financial Profile [IMM 5373B].


Use a representative (IMM 5476) (PDF, 648.31 KB)

You must fill out this form to;

  • Help sponsored refugees apply or
  • Authorize a third-party representative to represent you with IRCC and CBSA and provide application counsel. The use of a representative is optional.

Send your application


Your incomplete application will be rejected. It will be returned to the submitter.

After that, send all needed documentation to:

Resettlement Operations Centre in Ottawa (ROC-O)
365 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 1L1

Your entire postal address must be provided.

Application status checks are your responsibility.


UNHCR Canada

Private sponsorship of refugee program, Government of Canada.

Private Sponsorship Pathways, UNHCR

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 on Unsplash


Leave a comment if you have any suggestions or experiences that can be useful to everyone.
Be careful to leave your personal details in public.

We are a group of volunteers, and we rarely reply to comments here.

Please contact us if you have questions or need help.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *