Applicants persecuted for their diverse sexual orientation or gender identity or expression  (SOGIE)


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

Applicants may be persecuted for not conforming to a socially accepted sexual orientation or gender identity or expression (SOGIE). Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) applicants are included. Find all SOGIE groups at Internationally recognized SOGIE definitions.

This page contains guidance about the processing of resettlement applicants with a diverse SOGIE.

Key messages: An applicant with a diverse SOGIE may endure specific experiences that demonstrate their reason for persecution. Actions are required to ensure they are treated without discrimination and receive the needed support throughout their processing and after arrival in Canada.

Legal references:

For more, consult Chairperson's Guideline 9: Proceedings before the IRB Involving Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression.

On this page

Assessing persecution due to diverse SOGIE

Background research about the country of origin can help to assess the credibility and eligibility of applicants or persons associated with them.

Researching persons persecuted for their diverse SOGIE

Research in the country of nationality or habitual residence may include

Assessing persons associated with diverse SOGIE groups

Applicants may be persecuted when just perceived as having a diverse SOGIE due to their association with persons with a diverse SOGIE. Examples may include

Interviewing with sensitivity (diverse SOGIE)

Many applicants may conceal their diverse SOGIE due to mistrust or fear based on previous experiences of stigmatization and violence. Applicants may be uneasy in answering intimate questions and uncomfortable with their own SOGIE.

Guidelines for conducting an interview with an applicant for resettlement can be followed. Consult Resettlement from overseas: Conducting interviews.

In addition, when interviewing an applicant with diverse SOGIE, consider the following:

Example interview questions for persons persecuted for their SOGIE

When assessing whether an applicant suffered from persecution due to their diverse SOGIE, questions may include

When assessing an applicant’s SOGIE, suggested questions could include

Recording legal and alternate identities (diverse SOGIE)

The identity or gender presented by an applicant can vary in documents and in interactions at different stages. Record details to prevent troubles for the applicant during travel:

Recording multiple relationships (diverse SOGIE)

Applicants may have recorded the existence of one partner on their application, but actually have a relationship with another partner, for example, an applicant who is married to a spouse of the opposite sex but has a same-sex partner who plans to join the applicant in Canada.

Considerations to avoid obstacles in departure:

Potential for Blended Visa Office-Referred Refugee (BVOR) Program (diverse SOGIE)

Applicants persecuted for their diverse SOGIE are typically well suited for the Blended Visa Office-Referred Refugee (BVOR) Program, as they have minimal needs, and as there are many LGBTI sponsor groups in Canada.

Consult Blended Visa Office Referral.

Potential for Joint Assistance Sponsorship (JAS) Program (diverse SOGIE)

Unlike most applicants with diverse SOGIE, trans and intersex applicants in the process of transitioning may benefit from extra support under the Joint Assistance Sponsorship (JAS) Program to help them during their transition.

Consult Joint Assistance Sponsorship.

Document changes on arrival in Canada (diverse SOGIE)

Border officials in Canada must review any alias information recorded in the system and follow established procedures for changing identity documents.

Consult Biometrics collection and screening and identity management.

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