Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP): Income support management: Secondary migration and self-destination

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

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Secondary migration

Secondary migration refers to a client-initiated change in destination (city or province) either while still in temporary accommodation or after they have moved into their permanent address, and before the end of their first year in Canada.

In a situation of secondary migration, income support allowances provided to date need to be verified so that only the balance of RAP allowances is provided at the new destination, and not duplicated. Generally speaking, information on income support provided to date can be found in GCMS.

For transfers coming to and from the province of Quebec, the RAP officer can liaise with MIFI.

For BVOR cases, see below: Secondary Migration for BVORs

Instructions (GAR/JAS clients)

  • RAP income support payments issued from the original IRCC office/fund centre and rate city under the “Province/Territory” field should take into consideration the expected or actual date of arrival in the new city when determining an end date for payments from their centre, and issue the full payment to the end of that month. Accordingly, the resumption of payments from the new fund centre and/or the new rates do not need to be prorated to the date of the move, they can commence on the first of the following month from the move.
  • In situations where the client relocates without informing IRCC or the SPO beforehand, the receiving IRCC office should contact the original IRCC local office (or MIFI if applicable) to ensure they are aware of the move
  • A new RAP agreement does not need to be signed by the secondary migrant if the file is transferred to a new RAP office, as the original will still remain valid so long as all other client information on the document remains accurate.

Transferring the file and opening a new commitment under the new fund centre

  • If the file is being transferred, the originating local office will
    • zero out the remaining commitment
    • set the override amount to 0 and the rationale to Secondary Migration or “SM”
  • The RAP officer will then send an email to the receiving IRCC office to advise of the secondary migration and provide the transfer ID number. It is important for the RAP officer to tag the file as a secondary migration under the “special circumstances” field before the transfer, as a tool for reporting.
  • The receiving IRCC office will follow steps to receive the transfer and create a new commitment under the new fund centre using the information in GCMS and financial information from SAP.
  • If the file is not being transferred (for instance if the same fund centre manages both locations), the officer will sill update the Rate Province/Territory field to adjust for the new rates, and tag the file as a secondary migration in the “special circumstances” field in the tombstone screen (if not already done so by the sending office).
  • The receiving IRCC office will calculate the income support and applicable allowances, using the information in GCMS and financial information from SAP

Effective date (GAR/JAS)

  • While the date of the transfer of the file may correspond with the date which IRCC was informed of the move, the effective date of the new rates will be the 1st of the following month from the move date. If this date is in the past, and subsequent payments were made, a commitment adjustment should be made to account for the difference in rates that should have been allocated to the client since the 1st of the next month following their move. The officer can do so by setting the effective date of the new rate city by updating the Rate Province/Territory field in GCMS, even if it is a date in the past, and the system will automate any adjustments accordingly.
  • The move date, new permanent address, and contact details, must also be confirmed and updated in GCMS and SAP by the receiving office.

Continuation of services

  • The originating RAP office will ask the originating RAP SPO to complete a Client Relocation form for GAR and JAS clients, detailing the RAP services provided to date. Once received, the originating RAP office will forward it to the receiving RAP office, who will upload it in the GCMS RAP-IS file under incoming correspondence. Based on the information found in the Client Relocation form, if any RAP services are still required, the local office will communicate this with the receiving community’s RAP SPO so that the client can receive the RAP services to which they are entitled.
  • Resettlement services already received in the original destination typically would not be duplicated in the new community; only the balance of services not yet received (if applicable) should be provided by the new RAP SPO.
  • Circumstances under which resettlement services would be duplicated include if the client:
    • is relocating due to a destining error on the part of IRCC
    • must relocate due to medical reasons
    • is deemed to be particularly vulnerable, e.g. their security/safety could be at risk if left to find housing on their own or if placed in a local shelter (e.g. single woman with children, client with severe mental health issues, etc.)
  • Approval for the duplication of resettlement services, including stays in temporary accommodation, should be obtained from a RAP Supervisor or Manager.

Secondary migration to or from Quebec

  • Where information is not accessible in GCMS, or where the client moved from Quebec , the receiving RAP office should try to obtain as many details as possible, such as the date of last payment, by contacting the MIFI secondary migration team. Upon relocation out of Quebec, clients may be eligible for any RAP allowances that have not yet been provided, such as start-up, if applicable.
  • If the client is relocating to Quebec, a scanned copy of the Client Relocation form and an email indicating whether start-up (including furniture) was provided, the last period covered by RAP and a copy of the NAT should be sent to the MIFI secondary migration team.
  • Secondary migrations to Quebec are the only time where a RAP officer should amend the overall commitment end date when zero-ing out the file. The commitment end date in this circumstance should reflect the last day under the last “paid month” on RAP-IS.

For JAS cases

  • The originating RAP officer should inform the Resettlement Services Assurance Team (RSAT) immediately so that they may reach out to the sponsor to ensure they are aware of the secondary migration, and to fulfill residency requirements, or to initiate sponsorship breakdown procedures. The RSAT are responsible for follow-up with sponsors regarding meeting residency requirements, and will advise the local RAP office if there are any further instructions regarding the JAS sponsorship.
  • The IRCC office in the receiving community should ensure that client is linked to and receives a needs assessment from the new RAP SPO (if a balance of RAP services still need to be delivered) or Settlement SPO (if all RAP services have already been delivered) to ensure the client’s additional settlement needs are being met if there is no sponsor in the new community. They should share the initial JAS Roles and Responsibilities Checklist (IMM 5630) created for this case in correspondence with the new RAP or Settlement SPO, and the completed Client Relocation form so that the new RAP or Settlement SPO can address any needs accordingly.
  • The local RAP office will work with the RAP or Settlement SPO and client to confirm whether or not there remains a need for JAS in their new location and if a new sponsor needs to be found, will inform the IN’s Resettlement Services Unit of a need for re-promotion for a new sponsor in the new location. IN’s Resettlement Services Unit will review for eligibility and forward the request to ROC-O for tracking and liaison with the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program (RSTP) to help promote and solicit the case to the sponsorship community.

Secondary Migration of BVORs

When a BVOR secondary migrates after arrival, RAP officers should notify the Resettlement Services Assurance Team (RSAT) so that they may reach out to the sponsor to fulfill residency requirements, or to initiate sponsorship breakdown procedures.

The RSAT will work with the sponsor to determine whether the sponsorship can be continued (e.g., by assessing residency requirements for the secondary migration, to mediate between parties in a dispute situation, or to find a replacement sponsor). The RSAT will provide the original sponsor with the Transfer of BVOR Case to RAP form at the same time as they reach out to the sponsor with a letter to meet residency requirements, with 30 days to respond.

If a new sponsor has been found and/or if the sponsorship is continuing:

  • RSAT will send an email to provide the new sponsor (or new representatives) with the contact for the local RAP office in the new community and copy the RAP office to establish the connection so that the new sponsor (or new representative) can be in touch with the local office for any outstanding follow-up, if needed, and to arrange for an intake orientation, if deemed necessary by the local office.
  • The new sponsors or representatives are to inform and connect the client with the settlement services available in the client’s new community.
  • The Transfer of BVOR Case to RAP form does not need to be completed by the sponsor.

In the event that the sponsor will no longer meet residency requirements, and the RSAT declares a sponsorship breakdown:

  • If the sponsorship cannot continue, the RSAT will declare a breakdown and inform the local offices at both the original destination and new destination, along with providing the local office with the completed copy of the Transfer of BVOR Case to RAP form (filled out by the sponsor) and a copy of the breakdown letter so that the client’s needs can be assessed in the new location, including continuation of income support. The RSAT will have liaised with the local office to confirm SPO contact info and will include this contact information for the new Settlement or RAP SPO on the breakdown letter sent to the client.
    • If the breakdown occurred during the period of RAP income support, local offices should follow secondary migration procedures to ensure all necessary information is communicated such as the date of the move, and the file is transferred, if applicable. The RAP officer managing the file in the new community will then extend the length of the commitment in GCMS by changing the commitment end date. The period of income support will continue up until their 12-month commitment period is over. The same action would apply if the breakdown occurs during month 1 or 2 (prior to the initial income support period), in addition to changing the commitment end date, the officer will also adjust the commitment start date accordingly to the date of the breakdown.
    • If the breakdown occurs after the BVOR has already completed their 6-month commitment on RAP income support, the original office will re-open the RAP file and transfer the file, if applicable.
    • The RAP officer in the community of new residence will then create new commitment under their fund centre with a new commitment start date effective on the date of the breakdown (as confirmed by the RSAT) and update the commitment in SAP so that income support may be provided based on the current and ongoing financial needs of the BVOR. The new commitment may include two pro-rated months:
      • one at the beginning of the new commitment, pro-rated from the date of the date of the breakdown
      • another at the end of their commitment, if the commitment ends within the last month.
    • The system should automatically calculate these prorated months if the officer creates a new commitment as per above. If the system attempts to claw back any funds previously paid from the original commitment, the officer will need to zero-out any negative adjustments that the system will try to make which should not be applied.

Note: For instances of secondary migration, until a breakdown is declared by the RSAT, the original sponsors are still responsible to support the client, and are also responsible to inform and connect the client with settlement services available in the client’s new community.

The total commitment should not exceed the initial 12 month period of arrival in Canada, as the refugee should apply to provincial social assistance if financial support is still needed beyond their initial 12 month commitment.

RAP Services for BVORs

If, upon breakdown, the full complement of resettlement supports were not fully provided by the sponsor, and RAP services are needed, the local office will inform the RAP SPO in the new community and provide them with the Transfer of BVOR Case to RAP form to help the SPO in determining whether there are any RAP services which can be provided based on their need. Typically services already provided by the sponsor (such as temporary accommodations) should not be duplicated unless warranted due to exceptional circumstances and approved by the IRCC local office, in consultation with IN-ROD’s RAP functional guidance team , if needed. These considerations will also take into account temporary accommodation space, logistics (such as safety), and sufficient funds available in the RAP SPO’s CA to cover any related costs.

The RSAT will communicate with the applicable local office(s) and inform them whether the refugees have been provided contact information to the nearest RAP or Settlement SPO for assistance with initiating (or the continuation of) RAP income support benefits and receiving the balance of RAP Services (if applicable).

The local office should ensure that the RAP or Settlement SPO is aware of the BVOR referral so that they can facilitate the RAP income support intake with the client, as needed.

In instances where the refugee has settled in a community without a RAP SPO, the local office will establish a similar process involving a suitable Settlement SPO and inform RSAT of the SPO’s contact information to be provided to the refugee, which will also be included on the breakdown letter sent to the client.

Medical surveillance

If the client has been selected to have medical surveillance, the receiving IRCC office should remind them that they are responsible for reporting to provincial or territorial health authorities as required.


Self-destined clients are those who choose to change their final destination upon their arrival at the Port of Entry (POE), before ever reaching the pre-arranged final destination. These clients will either choose to remain at the POE city, or go to a different destination in Canada. In the situation of self-destination, the POE airport SPO will do the following:

  • Counsel the clients, and encourage them to continue to their pre-arranged final destination
  • If the client still wishes to change his/her final destination, the POE SPO will inform all relevant parties as soon as possible – the concerned IRCC offices, and the RAP SPOs or sponsors, as well as ROC-O and IOM Ottawa.
  • Have the client complete and sign the ‘Change of Destination Request Form’
  • If the client’s chosen destination is not the POE city where he/she is already located, they will assist the client in arranging transportation to new destination, including assisting them to fill out the Immigration Loan form (IMM0500), if applicable

The new receiving office will do the following:

  • Inform the SPO of the unexpected arrival (if not done by the POE SPO)
  • Connect with the RAP officer at the original destination, in order to transfer the RAP-IS file in GCMS, cancel or re-direct the initial payment cheque, if it was already created, and to de-commit the RAP funds for the client at the original destination, if applicable.
    • If the cheque is to be cancelled, the receiving office will initiate a new initial payment cheque to be administered at the intake interview in the receiving city
  • Initiate the intake interview and ensure services are delivered via the RAP SPO
  • Establish the reason for the self-destination, in order to have the required information to appropriately support the client.

Cancelling cheques: Occasionally there will be a no-show or a self-destination situation, or other reasons where the original office has already requested the initial cheque, and will no longer be providing it to the client. When cheques are not being delivered to clients, they should be returned to NPAS to cancel them. Arrival delays longer than 6 months should also be returned for cheque cancellation, especially if the period spans two calendar or fiscal years.

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