Refugee Protection

Each year, millions of people from around the world are forced to flee their homeland to escape persecution, war or severe human rights abuses. Canada helps those in need through our asylum and resettlement programs.

Refugee Claims Inside Canada:

Who can make a Refugee claim?

Foreign nationals and permanent residents who are not subject to a removal order may make a refugee claim in Canada. This includes a claim made at an admissibility hearing prior to the issuance of a removal order.

Canadian citizens may not make a refugee claim, as they already enjoy the protection of Canadian citizenship and the right to enter and remain in Canada.

When and Where to Make a refugee claim

A refugee claim may be made at a Canadian port of entry or at an inland CIC or CBSA office, at any time during the administrative or admissibility hearing process, provided a removal order has not been issued.

How is a claim made?

All refugee claims must be made in person to a CIC or CBSA officer designated to receive refugee claims. A refugee claim is made when a person expresses to a CIC or CBSA officer the need for Canada’s protection. The claimant will not necessarily use words like” refugee‟ or ”persecution.‟ If the official to whom a claim is made is not delegated to receive refugee claims, the claimant must be referred to a delegated officer as soon as practicable. Refugee claims may not be made by mail. If a client mails in completed forms, the forms must be returned, and the client notified that they must take the forms in person to a CIC office.

Eligibility for referral of in-Canada claims to the IRB

General assessment guidelines

The claimant must prove that their claim is eligible to be referred to the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) of the IRB.

For the purpose of an eligibility determination, refugee claimants may make a claim against just one country, even if they have multiple nationalities. The RPD will assess the merits of the claim against each country of nationality. Refugee claim eligibility is determined during the eligibility examination.

In the absence of evidence that the person is ineligible, resolve eligibility in favour of the claimant.

If eligibility cannot be determined because the claimant may be inadmissible due to serious criminality, security, human/international rights violations or organized criminality, and as a result an A44 report is referred to the Immigration Division for an admissibility hearing, suspend the consideration on eligibility as per A100(2). If the claim has already been referred to RPD, suspend under A103(1).

Steps for determining eligibility:

  • Conduct a thorough review of the documentation;
  • (If applicable) assess whether the claimant is ineligible under 101(1)(e), the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA); and
  • Review possible grounds for ineligibility

Refugee Claims Outside Canada

Refugee resettlement

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.

Sponsor a Refugee: Groups of Five: About the process

Information for privately sponsored refugees

A Group of Five (G5) is five or more Canadian citizens or permanent residents who have arranged to sponsor a refugee living abroad to come to Canada.

G5s may only sponsor applicants who are recognized as refugees by either the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) or a foreign state. The principal applicant MUST already have refugee status. Having refugee status means that an authorized body has found that an individual meets its refugee definition. This authorized body can either be the UNHCR or the government of the country (i.e., foreign state) where the refugee is now living.


To be eligible, each member of the group must:

  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident,
  • Be at least 18 years old,
  • Live in the same community where the refugee is expected to settle, and
  • Agree to give settlement support for the length of the sponsorship (usually one year).

Your group must provide a settlement plan. You must prove that your group has the money to sponsor a refugee for one year. The amount of money needed will depend on how many refugees you sponsor

Blended Visa Office Referral (BVOR program)


Assessment of potential for BVOR program (refugee)

Assessing potential for BVOR program
After eligibility for the GAR program has been confirmed, an assessment is done to evaluate if applicant(s) may be a potential candidate for the BVOR program.

Submitting candidate for sponsors’ review under BVOR program
After admissibility to Canada is confirmed, the case is identified to the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program for review by groups who wish to sponsor a refugee under the BVOR program.


Final selection for BVOR Program (Refugee and Sponsor)

Making the final decision on sponsor under BVOR program
When a potential sponsor selects a case, the sponsor must submit an application to assess if they have the ability to provide adequate financial, emotional and settlement support as required by their sponsorship undertaking.

Making the final decision on selected program for resettlement (BVOR or GAR program)
When the decision for sponsorship is completed, or if no sponsorship is found, a final decision can be made to confirm if the applicant(s) can be resettled under the BVOR program or remain under the GAR program.


Arrangements for resettlement and support in Canada

Preparing refugee for departure to Canada (under BVOR program)
After the final decision is made and visa is approved, arrangements are made for departure.

Delivering support to resettled refugee (under BVOR)
After the client is admitted into Canada, the needed support to help with resettlement can be obtained.

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