Refugee resettlement


This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

For specific instructions on processing applications submitted under various public policies and measures in response to the Afghanistan crisis, please consult Afghanistan: Program delivery instructions.

In accordance with its Annual Immigration Levels Plan, Canada accepts refugees as permanent residents under its Refugee Resettlement Program. As a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, Canada accepts refugees for humanitarian reasons to align with its international obligations, protect those in need and reunite refugee families.

IRCC works closely with partners to identify and resettle refugees located abroad for resettlement to Canada. Refugees may be referred by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees or another authorized referral organization, or by a private sponsor in Canada. IRCC processing targets are established to focus efforts where they are needed.

Core programs

A refugee is initially submitted for resettlement as an applicant for either the Government-Assisted Refugee (GAR) Program or for the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) Program. The following section includes procedures and considerations for application intake, eligibility, admissibility, final decision, pre-departure and arrival in Canada for the core resettlement programs.

Government-Assisted Refugee (GAR) Program
Process a refugee identified by an authorized referral organization for resettlement with full government assistance

Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) Program
Process a refugee identified for resettlement by a private sponsor

The following section describes procedures and considerations for application intake, eligibility, admissibility, final decision, pre-departure and/or arrival in Canada for related programs and provisions for selected applicant types.

Quebec resettlement – government-assisted refugee (Quebec GAR)
Process refugees referred for receipt of full support by the Government of Quebec

Quebec resettlement – private sponsorship of refugee (Quebec PSR)
Process refugees identified by private sponsors approved by Quebec

BBlended visa office referral (BVOR)
Process government-assisted refugees who may benefit from sponsor support

Joint assistance sponsorship (JAS)
Process government-assisted refugees with exceptional needs requiring extended support

Key provisions

Cases for priority or special processing
Find considerations for assessing and processing special or priority case groups. Includes cases referred for urgent protection, vulnerable cases, public policies, applicants who are persecuted on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity expression (SOGIE-LGBTQI) and other groups requiring special attention

Dependent family members and separated-unaccompanied children
Consult the definition of legal versus de facto dependent, how to process dependent(s) residing in a different location, adding a new dependent to a file before departure, processing cases submitted under the one-year window provision and situations involving separated children on their own


Resettlement: program delivery partners – roles and responsibilities
Key partners within and outside of IRCC and their respective responsibilities regarding resettlement

Refugee protection: Overview
About the history and objectives of IRCC’s refugee programs

Resettlement: Legal references
Legal instruments and information sources used to direct the delivery of the resettlement program in Canada

Terms and definitions related to refugee protection and resettlement

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