Sponsoring Syrian refugees

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Za'atari refugee camp, Jordan (image courtesy of the UNHCR).

Security and health screening

Each Syrian refugee will undergo a robust, multi-layered screening before departing for Canada, including collection of biometrics.

Find out more about security and health screening.

Saving family No.417: the Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) program in action

A mother and her three children, had no idea a group of strangers in Peterborough, Ontario had chosen to sponsor her family through the BVOR program.

Read the Maclean's article online

Canadians can sponsor refugees in three different ways:

Many members of the Syrian community in Canada want to bring their family members to Canada, but not all have the financial means.

If you are ready to become a sponsor, the Syrian Family Links Initiative can help connect you with someone in your area who has identified a family member for sponsorship to come to Canada. Find out more about the Syrian Family Links Initiative.

For Groups of Five and Community Sponsors wishing to sponsor Syrian or Iraqi refugees, the documentation required for the sponsorship process has been temporarily reduced to make it easier for Canadians and Permanent Residents to sponsor refugees from the region.

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

For questions about Syria, contact Syria-Syrie@cic.gc.ca.

Deborah Tunis, retired Director General of Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Integration Branch, has been named special coordinator for Syrian and Iraqi refugees. Ms. Tunis’ role is to work with partners, other levels of government and private sponsors, to ensure Syrian refugees receive the resettlement support they need.

Sponsorship in general

Refugee sponsors agree to provide refugees with care, lodging, settlement assistance and support. Normally, this is for 12 months starting from the refugee’s arrival in Canada or until the refugee becomes self-sufficient, whichever comes first. Sponsors are required to demonstrate their ability to meet the required financial obligations of sponsorship.

Private sponsors also normally support the sponsored refugees by:

  • providing the cost of food, rent and household utilities and other day-to-day living expenses;
  • providing clothing, furniture and other household goods;
  • locating interpreters;
  • selecting a family physician and dentist;
  • assisting with applying for provincial health-care coverage;
  • enrolling children in school and adults in language training;
  • introducing newcomers to people with similar personal interests;
  • providing orientation with regard to banking services, transportation, etc.; and
  • helping in the search for employment.

Before any application can be accepted, the sponsored persons must undergo a medical examination and a security check or background screening to ensure the safety and security of Canadians.

The Blended Visa Office-Referred program

Under the Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) program, Canada matches refugees identified for resettlement by referral agencies such as the UN Refugee Agency with private sponsors in Canada. Under the BVOR program, launched in 2013, the federal government provides six months of federal income support for refugees, which is matched by six months of private sponsorship support. The sponsor is also expected to provide social support for the full 12-month period.

The Government of Canada has expanded the BVOR program so that G5 and CSs can also access Syrian refugee files currently in the inventory as part of this program.

IRCC is also making more refugee profiles available earlier in the process so that sponsors can be identified for Syrian refugees. In order to expedite the process, profiles will only be available for 14 days. If no sponsor has been identified, the refugee application will continue to be processed through Government-Assisted Refugees Program.

Sponsorship Agreement Holders, G5s and CSs interested in sponsoring a Syrian refugee through the BVOR program should contact the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program at info@rstp.ca. For sponsors in Quebec, please visit refugee sponsorship in Quebec.

In the news

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I am a refugee – Edy

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Canada: A History of Refuge

Visit our online refugee exhibition to learn more about refugees in Canada.

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