1. Who can be sponsored?
In order to be eligible for refugee sponsorship to Canada under the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) program, refugees must satisfy the following criteria: 1) They must be outside of their country of nationality or their country of habitual residence if they are stateless; 2) They must not be in Canada; 3) They must have a sponsoring group in Canada; 4) They must not have a durable solution in the country in which they are currently located (i.e. they cannot return safely to their country of origin; cannot locally integrate in the country they are located in; and, have no alternative offers of settlement); 5) They must be able to successfully establish and settle in-Canada; and, 6) They must meet the Convention Refugee Abroad Class or the Country of Asylum Class definitions.
In addition to the above, refugees being sponsored by a Group of Five or a Community Sponsor must have been recognized or accepted as refugees by UNHCR or the government of the country in which they are currently located (often referred to as the country of asylum or host country).
All refugees being sponsored to Canada must undergo admissibility screening and pass a medical, criminality and security check.
2. I am a refugee claimant in Canada – can I be sponsored?
No. In order to be eligible for refugee sponsorship under the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) program, the refugee has to be outside Canada. Canada has a separate immigration stream for refugees that are already in Canada and would like to obtain refugee status.
3. Does the refugee applicant need to be registered with the UN?
Registration is often the first step in the RSD process. Generally speaking, registration documents are not accepted as proof of refugee status for applications submitted by Groups of Five and Community Sponsors. If you would like a document verified, please contact us and we will be able to advise if the document will be accepted as proof of refugee status for applications submitted by Groups of Five and Community Sponsors.
4. I do not have a mandate letter or refugee status certificate from the UNHCR or any government. Can I still be sponsored?
5. The conditions in my country are currently very bad. Due to the unrest and violence, I can no longer keep myself and my family safe. Can someone or a group in Canada sponsor us as refugees?
6. I am a refugee and have recently returned to my home country because of the unrest in the country of asylum. The conditions in my home country are still not very safe and there is no future here for myself and my family. Can I be privately sponsored as a refugee?
7. The refugee applicant is in Turkey. I heard something about a moratorium banning refugee sponsorships from Turkey. Is this still in place?
8. Can we sponsor Palestinian refugees?
Refugee status documents issued by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine and the Near East (UNRWA) are not accepted by the Canadian government as valid refugee status documents. Therefore, Palestinian refugees with documents issued by UNRWA cannot be sponsored by a Group of Five or a Community Sponsor.
If a Palestinian refugee is located in a country or territory that falls within UNRWA’s geographical mandate (i.e. Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, the Gaza Strip or the West Bank), they are unable to obtain a refugee status document from UNHCR. However, if the Palestinian refugee is located in a country outside of UNRWA’s geographical mandate, they can obtain a refugee status document from UNHCR and be sponsored by a Group of Five or a Community Sponsor.
If the Palestinian refugee is unable to obtain a refugee status document from UNHCR, or only has documents issued by UNRWA, they may still be sponsored for resettlement by a Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH) provided they satisfy the eligibility and admissibility criteria outlined above.
9. Are we able to sponsor Rwandan refugees, or is Rwanda considered a safe country now?
10. Are de-facto dependants eligible to come to Canada under the One-Year Window of Opportunity (OYW) program?
11. We would like to sponsor a refugee family that consists of a woman, her spouse, their two children (4 and 8 years old), one nephew (6 years old) of the woman and the sister of the spouse (27).
12. My refugee case was denied in Sweden – can I be privately sponsored to Canada?
13. Can we sponsor a refugee who is in Italy and does not have permanent status there?
14. Are there any other reasons why someone might not be eligible for resettlement?
In addition to being inside Canada, the following people do not qualify for sponsorship under the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) program:
- People who were the subject of a previous refugee sponsorship application and were refused, unless:
- Their circumstances have changed;
- New information, which was not presented in the previous application has come to light; or,
- Canadian laws affecting the case have changed.
- Persons who have a durable solution, such as voluntary repatriation, local integration in the current country of residence or an alternative offer of resettlement.
- Persons who have not been recognized as refugees by either UNHCR or the government of the country in the country of asylum (if the sponsors are a Group of Five or a Community Sponsor).