Understanding The Refugee Process

HomeUnderstanding The Refugee Process

 © UNHCR/Mark HenleyEach year, millions of people are forced to flee their homelands to escape persecution, war or severe human rights abuses. Often these people can never return home.

In Canada, the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program helps thousands of refugees every year. Groups can sponsor refugees from abroad who qualify to come to Canada. Sponsors provide financial and emotional support for the refugees for the duration of the sponsorship. This includes help for housing, clothing and food. Most sponsorships last  one year, but some refugees may be eligible for assistance from their sponsors for up to three years. Refugees must qualify for entry under Canada’s laws and must pass medical and security checks before they can come to Canada. (Source: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/refugees/sponsor/) photo © UNHCR/Mark Henley

The Big Picture – Refugees and Forced Migration

What is a refugee? How many refugees are there globally? What are some of the issues facing refugees abroad and in Canada? How does the private sponsorship of refugees in Canada work? The following websites provide information about the global refugee crisis  and in Canada. We encourage you to explore the links we’ve provided to gain a deeper understanding of the process.


Understanding the refugee process nationally and internationally

Immigrant Services Society of BC – Provides an overview of the refugee situation in Canada. This is a great site to get the facts and statistics on refugees in Canada.

UNHCR: The UN Refugee Agency – Provides the most up-to-date information and statistics about global refugee crises.

Centre for Refugee Studies, York University  – Research, events, programs relating to forced migration and refugees.

Council for RefugeesA national umbrella organization committed to the rights and protection of refugees and other vulnerable migrants in Canada.


Understanding the private sponsorship of Refugees in Canada

If interested in sponsoring a refugee, we highly recommend that you review the websites/links listed below tohave a clear understanding of the requirements and responsibilities.

There are a number of different websites that have information about sponsoring refugees into Canada. However, the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program is a website supported by Citizenship and Immigration (now  Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship) Canada that has the most comprehensive review of the sponsorship programs.  This site has extensive information, videos, training resources, forms, and guidelines that clearly outline the private sponsorship process. The site also provides contact information,  Facebook and Twitter links for more information.

Other sites with sponsorship information are:

Government of Canada – Immigration and Citizenship – Provides an overview of the refugee process in Canada and links to apply as a Sponsorship Holder Agreement (SAH) or Group of Five.

Government-Assisted Refugee Resettlement in Canada (available in Arabic) PDF

Privately Sponsored Refugee Resettlement in Canada  (available in Arabic) PDF

The Refugee Sponsorship Training Program (RSTP) – RSTP is a program designed to support the Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs) of Canada, their Constituent Groups, Groups of Five and Community Sponsors on a national level (excl. Quebec). (Same as link above)

What is the Blended Visa Office-Referred Program?
Read more about this program