Government-Assisted Refugees program

Information bulletin

Resettlement in Canada as a Government-Assisted Refugee

This bulletin provides information about the next steps in the application process, and gives you more information about Canada.

Through the Government-Assisted Refugees (GAR) program, refugees are referred to Canada for resettlement by

  • the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) or
  • another referral organization

You can’t apply to resettle in Canada as a government-assisted refugee. Instead, we rely on referral organizations like the UNHCR to help us reach the people who need resettlement.

To be considered by a referral organization, you must register for refugee status with the UNHCR or state authorities.


As a government-assisted refugee, either the Government of Canada or the province of Quebec will support you while you settle in Canada. This support is delivered by non-governmental agencies that we fund, called service provider organizations.

You’ll receive support

  • for up to 1 year from the date you arrive in Canada or
  • until you’re able to support yourself (whichever happens first)

Human rights defenders stream

We created a refugee stream for human rights defenders under the GAR program. Through this new stream, we’ll resettle up to 250 people (human rights defenders and their family members) each year.

We’ll resettle human rights defenders to Canada in the same way that we resettle other government-assisted refugees.

You can’t apply to resettle in Canada under this stream. The UNHCR refers human rights defenders to us. Front Line Defenders and help the UNHCR identify the people who are most in need of protection through this stream.

What happens next

If you’re referred to us for resettlement in Canada as a government-assisted refugee, you can learn more about

  1. what happens after your case has been referred
  2. how long it takes to process government-assisted refugee cases
  3. what you can expect when you arrive in Canada

What kinds of fraud should newcomers watch out for?

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