Determining the need for and assessing the ability to repay an immigration loan

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Migration officers should consider the factors below when issuing a loan and also take into account the following points:

  • IRCC has a commitment to ensure that resettled refugees are able to travel to Canada, which is in line with the humanitarian nature of the Refugee Resettlement Program, and the high historical repayment rate is evidence that the financial costs are manageable in support of this goal.
  • If the officer determines that a government-assisted refugee or joint assistance sponsorship (JAS) applicant may be unable to repay the loan, the officer may request to have the costs covered through a contribution.
  • If the officer determines that a Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) Program applicant may have difficulty repaying the loan, the officer should approve the loan, in keeping with the department’s humanitarian commitment, as noted above.

Factors for consideration

  • 18 years of age or older
  • employment or transferable skills to secure employment within 3 or 4 years
  • number of family dependants
  • initiative to participate in the labour market
  • current debt load (for in-Canada applicants on behalf of family members overseas)
    • Verify if the applicant has any other existing immigration loans through the Global Case Management System (GCMS), through the Immigration Program Accounts Receivable (IPAR) system or with Collection Services by telephone or email.
    • If the loan applicant already has an existing loan, the designated officer should determine with Collection Services if the applicant’s payment record on the existing loan is in good standing before approving a subsequent loan.
    • Where an existing loan is in default, the designated officer should not approve an additional loan until Collection Services has advised that an acceptable repayment schedule has been negotiated with the loan applicant.
  • higher resettlement needs where a refugee may require additional support in Canada to become self-sufficient, such as
    • physical or mental conditions that require long-term or ongoing treatment
    • lower-than-average settlement potential, due to unusual circumstances or health-related issues
    • seniors without accompanying or established family in Canada, and who are not likely to be in a position to enter the workforce

Migration officers processing government-assisted refugee and joint assistance sponsorship (JAS) applications destined outside Quebec are encouraged to be proactive in putting forward requests for contribution for refugees with higher resettlement needs. Refer to the procedures on RAP contributions for more information.

Note: The following are not eligible for contribution:

  • privately sponsored refugees and government-assisted refugees destined to or residing in Quebec, under the overseas refugees (REF-OVS) category
  • any individuals who immigrate to Canada under a different class, such as the dependent refugee or family Class)

More procedures for all loans

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