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.

Special measures are currently in effect due to the disruption of services associated with impacts of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). See further 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 needed.

Core programs

A refugee is initially submitted for resettlement as an applicant for either the government-assisted refugee (GAR) program or for the privately-sponsored refugee (PSR) program. The following section includes procedures and considerations for application intake, eligibility, admissibility, final decision, pre-departure and/or arrival in Canada for the core resettlement programs.

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

Private Sponsorship of Refugee (PSR)
Processing 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)
Processing refugees referred for receipt of full support by government of Quebec.

Quebec resettlement – Private Sponsorship of Refugee (Quebec PSR)
Processing refugees identified by private sponsors approved by Quebec.

Blended Visa Office Referral (BVOR)
Processing government-assisted refugees who may benefit from sponsor support.

Joint Assistance Sponsorship (JAS)
Processing government-assisted refugees with exceptional needs requiring extended support.

Key provisions

Cases for priority or special processing
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
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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