Refugee Sponsorship Training Program

Font resize

COVID-19: ROC-O Update on Refugee Arrivals

Following the announcement of the Prime Minister on March 16, 2020, travel to Canada has been restricted in response to COVID-19, allowing entry only to Canadian citizens and permanent residents, with certain exceptions.

Detailed information on these exceptions have been outlined and include family members of Canadian citizens and residents, and foreign nationals, including privately-sponsored refugees (PSR), who were already in possession of permanent resident visas for Canada at the time of the imposition of the travel restriction measures.

As you may be aware, all PSR cases booked for arrival in March and April by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), have been cancelled and remain as such until further notice.

We recognize that while holders of valid permanent resident visas may be able to enter Canada, the ability to travel to Canada ultimately relies on various factors, including, but not limited to:

  • capacity of the IOM to facilitate travel and pre-departure medical services;
  • availability of flights
  • conditions in the refugee’s country of residence/asylum;
  • ability of foreign governments to issue exit permits; and
  • the sponsor and refugee’s mutual interest to proceed with travel to Canada at this time, in light of the COVID-19 situation.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is actively working with various partners to plan travel where possible, and for the eventual resumption of refugee arrivals. The Resettlement Operations Centre – Ottawa (ROC-O) will contact you directly by e-mail when the refugee(s) you sponsored may be able to travel to Canada and you will be requested to clearly confirm your continued ability to receive and support them.

If the refugee(s) you are sponsoring are able to travel, there will be additional requirements with which you will be asked to comply.  Upon arrival, as with all international travelers, the refugee(s) will be asked to adhere to guidelines on self-isolation and COVID-19, as defined by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

As this may also put you in close physical contact with individuals arriving from outside Canada, you may also need to adhere to the same guidelines.

Until you receive correspondence from the ROC-O in this regard, we ask that you limit correspondence with IRCC.

Additionally, we would like to take this opportunity to share the following information:

  • Due to the current disruption to normal operations, which began on March 17, 2020, ROC-O continues to process e-mailed sponsorship applications. In order to avoid duplication, sponsorship applications already submitted by mail should NOT be resubmitted by email. The mailed applications will be processed when IRCC resumes normal operations.
  • Moreover, some Canadian embassies and consulates have either reduced their operations or closed their offices until further notice. Due to the evolving situation, there may be delays in the processing of applications, regardless of type/category.


Resettlement Operations Centre – Ottawa (ROC-O)