How to sponsor a refugee to Canada – the BVOR (Blended Visa Office-Referred) program

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How does the “blended” model work?

The BVOR program is a “blended” program because it is a cost-sharing arrangement whereby IRCC and private sponsors contribute financially to support the refugees. Private sponsors are also responsible for providing settlement support to the refugees for the whole length of sponsorship period (typically 12 months).

Refugees resettled under the BVOR program receive income support from the Government of Canada through the Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) for 6 months after their arrival (during months 2-7). Private sponsors offer another 6 months of financial support (during month 1 and months 8-12) and cover the initial startup costs.

Some previous refugee populations in the BVOR program include (but are not limited to):

  • Syrians, Iraqis, Iranians, Afghans
  • Congolese, Ethiopians, Eritreans
  • Somalis, Colombians, Sudanese

Learn more:


(Please note that this list may change and/or expand as new crises and conflicts develop around the world.)

Reasons for Resettlement:

The reasons why BVOR refugees cannot stay where they are and need to be resettled are often complex. Often times they are particularly vulnerable because they are or identify as:

  • Women and girls at risk
  • LGBTQI or Diverse Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression (SOGIE) Persecution
  • Survivors of violence and torture
  • They lack a foreseeable alternative durable solution (that means, they have no other “durable” options. They can not return home, they can not stay where they currently reside, their only option is to be resettled)


Who can sponsor under the BVOR program?

People living in Canada who have Canadian Citizenship, Permanent Residency and/or Registered Indian Status can sponsor BVOR refugees. The Refugee Sponsorship Training Program provides training to potential BVOR sponsors across Canada, from the first steps of getting a sponsorship group together, learning what is required to knowing what settlement supports are available throughout the sponsorship period.

In order to sponsor, Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents must form one of the following groups:

Frequently asked questions: “Can I refer a refugee or refugee family to the BVOR program for sponsorship?”

No. Refugees in the BVOR program are referred by the UNHCR to IRCC. BVOR refugees cannot be identified or referred by private groups or organizations for sponsorship through the BVOR program.

However, if you know of a refugee that you would like to sponsor for resettlement, the  Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) program,may be right for you.



How do I get matched with a refugee and what happens next?

If you are interested in sponsoring a refugee but don’t know who to sponsor, we can match you with a Blended Visa-Office Referred (BVOR) refugee in need. The list of refugees is referred exclusively to us at the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program, by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

  • BVOR refugees are often considered the most vulnerable.
  • Their paper work is completed, and they are ready to come to Canada.
  • All they need is a sponsor, like you!

Contact us to book an orientation: CONTACT OUR BVOR STAFF

Upcoming virtual orientation and training schedule: SEE THE SCHEDULE


Previous sponsors talk about how refugee sponsorship impacted their lives and community:

Video – Hamilton Heavy Metal Bar sponsor BVOR family.


Still have questions?

Contact our BVOR staff members at:
Tel: 416.290.1700 Ext.2406

Never miss a beat! Subscribe to the BVOR Newsletter for frequent updates.