Visa-Office Referred Sponsorships

Photo by UNHCR /J.Redfern

Photo by UNHCR /J.Redfern

Visa Office-Referred (VOR) cases refer to refugees who have been identified by the Canadian Visa Officers overseas for resettlement to Canada.

These cases have not been initiated by private sponsors in Canada, but have been referred by the UNHCR from abroad. Visa office-referred refugees have been interviewed by the Canadian visa officers, have met eligibility and admissibility requirements and are ready for travel to Canada. What they need are refugee sponsors in Canada. Private sponsors in Canada are advised about available VOR cases, the resettlement needs of the refugees and are encouraged to sponsor them. Since VORs are generally ready for travel to Canada when sponsors find out about them, they arrive in Canada within a short period of time once private sponsors have committed to supporting them.

As with sponsor-referred cases, sponsoring groups commit to providing VOR refugees with basic necessities (e.g. food, housing, clothing, financial support, etc.) and settlement, integration, moral and emotional support for the duration of the sponsorship period. A sponsorship typically lasts 12 months from the time of arrival in Canada.


How are VOR cases different from sponsor-identified cases?

Sponsor-referred cases are usually initiated by private sponsors in Canada. Private sponsors submit the refugee sponsorship application for a refugee who is known to them. The process is therefore initiated by the group. The Canadian visa office abroad determines whether that person meets the eligibility criteria and satisfies admissibility requirements for resettlement to Canada. As with VORs, private sponsors commit to supporting sponsored refugees for the duration of the sponsorship period which is usually 12 months upon arrival in Canada.

How is it different from the Government-Assisted Refugee (GAR) program?

Government-Assisted Refugees are also identified by Canadian visa offices as in need of resettlement. They are generally initially identified and referred by the UNHCR. GARs have met eligibility and admissibility requirements but are resettled to Canada through the assistance of the Canadian Government. Once in Canada, they are supported through government funding and settlement support through the Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP).

Photo by UNHCR / E.Hockstein Hagaderacamp

Photo by UNHCR / E.Hockstein Hagaderacamp

What is the difference between Joint-Assistance Sponsorships (JAS) and VORs?

Joint Assistance Sponsorship (JAS) is a joint resettlement effort between private sponsoring groups in Canada and the Canadian government. Refugees sponsored under JAS usually require more assistance and financial resources due to a medical condition or other conditions that make them more vulnerable.

JAS cases are identified and assessed by the Canadian visa offices abroad. Once it is established that they meet eligibility and admissibility requirements, JAS cases need to be matched with a Sponsorship Agreement Holder and/or their Constituent Group in Canada.