Joint Assistance Program – Sponsoring refugees with special needs

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) sometimes partners with organizations to resettle refugees with special needs. This program is called Joint Assistance Sponsorship (JAS).

Refugees with special needs may need more support than other refugees in order to settle in Canada. Special needs may arise due to:

  • trauma from violence or torture,
  • medical disabilities,
  • the effects of systemic discrimination, or
  • a large number of family members.

Under the JAS program, refugees receive support from the government and a private sponsor for up to 24 months, depending on the case. In a few cases, the private sponsor may provide support for up to 36 months.

These refugees get income support from the Government of Canada for food, shelter, clothing and basic household goods. They are also matched with a private sponsorship group. The sponsorship group helps refugees adjust to life in Canada by providing settlement help and emotional support.

A note for privately sponsored refugees

Being a privately sponsored refugee means that a group of people in Canada have volunteered to help you adjust to life in Canada. Your sponsorship group has made a commitment to support you for one year after you arrive or until you become financially independent, whichever comes first. Your sponsor is responsible for providing you with this support. You do not need to pay your sponsor for the costs of helping you settle in Canada.

Determine your eligibility

Find out if you are eligible to sponsor a refugee with special needs.


Follow the steps to apply to sponsor a refugee with special needs.

Check processing times

Find out how long it will take us to process your application.

After you apply: get next steps

Find out what you should do after you apply to sponsor a refugee with special needs.

Sponsors in Quebec

Quebec has its own process to sponsor refugees. Find more about refugee sponsorship in Quebec.

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