Sponsor a Refugee

Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) program

This program allows private sponsors to sponsor a refugee (outside Canada) for resettlement in Canada. A sponsor can support a refugee for up to 1 year. And you will help the refugee with:

  • Start-up costs such as clothing, furniture needs etc.
  • Monthly costs such as transportation, food, housing needs etc.
  • Social and emotional support.

Who can sponsor refugees?

To sponsor a refugee you must be a part of the following groups:

  • Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAH): Sponsors enter an agreement with the government of Canada to help in the resettlement of refugees in Canada.
    • Under this, there are constituent groups, who work with SAHs to sponsor a refugee under the SAH agreement.
  • Groups of Five: A group of 5 or more Canadian citizens or permanent citizens can sponsor refugees to settle in their communities.
  • Community sponsors: These are organisations, corporations or associations that sponsor refugees to help them live a safe and better life in Canada.

Quebec Refugee Sponsorship

Quebec has its own process to allow Canadian citizens or permanent residents in Quebec to sponsor a refugee. To know more click here.

Who can be sponsored?

To sponsor a refugee it must meet the following terms:

  • Are living outside Canada, and
  • And qualify as per the definition of a refugee under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).

Also, under this, 2 classes of refugees qualify such as:

  • Convention Refugee Abroad Class and
  • Country of Asylum Class.


How to sponsor a refugee?

One can sponsor a refugee in the following ways:

Sponsor a refugee with special needs: Canada allows to sponsor refugees with special needs under its Joint Assistance Sponsorship (JAS). As per this, a group can sponsor refugees with special needs such as:

  • Severe trauma due to violence/torture.
  • Medical disabilities/issues,
  • Systemic discrimination, or
  • A large number of family members

Under the JAS program, the government of Canada and a private sponsor support a refugee for a period of up to 24 months. Also, in some cases, the private sponsor can sponsor up to 36 months. Further, only SAH’s and their constituent groups qualify to sponsor refugees through the JAS program. 

To know more about the JAS application procedure click here.

Sponsor a known refugee: 
As a sponsor, one can help an individual (refugee) or a refugee family. However, they must meet the terms of the PSR program. But if you choose to sponsor someone through this pathway then:

  • The application processing will be longer.
    • Because the processing takes less time if the applicants are reviewed by the Canada government.
  • You will not get financial assistance from the government of Canada.

Besides, the application process depends on whether the sponsor falls under which sponsor category such as:

  • Sponsorship agreement
  • Group of Five
  • Community Sponsor