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The Refugee Sponsorship Process in Four Stages


Pre-submission >> First Steps

During the first steps period interested persons will:

  • learn about the different types of sponsorships available
  • speak to their church leadership about their interest in refugee sponsorship
  • form a group of 5 people (minimum)
  • submit prescreening forms for any church-referred refugees
  • begin fundraising as needed

The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) website has a great tool kit which helps to outline the entire process. The SAH Association website is also a good resource which contains a sponsorship guidebook that you may find usefull too. Learn more about sponsorship responsibilities here:


Pre-submission >> Next Steps

When your church leadership agrees to move forward with refugee sponsorship, has formed a committee of 5 (min) people, and is financially ready to embark on a sponsorship undertaking, we can begin the next steps process.

During the next steps processing period sponsoring groups will:

  • be matched with refugee(s): PSR, BVOR, or JAS
  • connect with local settlement agencies
  • prepare a detailed settlement and budget plan
  • complete required forms
  • receive required training
  • finalize fundraising as needed
  • receive status updates while awaiting the arrival of their sponsored refugee(s)

STAGE 2 - Processing at ROC-O

Approval of the sponsoring group

An application to resettle a privately sponsored refugee to Canada has two parts:

  1. a sponsorship portion, and
  2. a refugee portion.

The Resettlement Operations Centre in Ottawa (ROC-O) receives and reviews the full application (both portions) to make sure it’s complete. If the application is found to be incomplete, it will be returned to the SAH.

If an application is found to be complete, IRCC will assess the sponsorship portion first (at ROC-O), and if the sponsoring group is approved, then the application will be forwarded to one of IRCC's migration offices (visa office) overseas for assessement of the refugee portion. At that time, an email notice will be sent to the SAH that the sponsors portion has been approved.

Learn more about the refugee sponsorship application process here:

Find answers to FAQs on in-Canada processing here:

Please note, refugees being resettled to Quebec follow a slightly different process.

STAGE 3 - Processing at the Visa Post

Permanent Residence Approval for the Refugee(s)

When the application is approved to be forwarded to the visa office overseas, the information will be scanned into the GCMS database, and a G-number will be generated. That number, along with the applicants name and date of birth can be used to track the status of the application online through the Client Application Status (ECAS) query webpage.

Processing to assess the refugee portion at the visa office typically includes interviews, medicals, and security screening checks. Learn more about the assessment process here:


It is also important to understand that due to back-logged inventory levels, and other delaying factors, it can take up to a year or more to receive a decision.

NOTE: The Government of Canada sets the number of applications that can be processed in a given year in the Annual Immigration Levels Plan. In 2018, that target is 18,000 privately sponsored refugees. IRCC generally process applications on a first-in, first-out basis. There are applications for roughly 41,000 refugees waiting to be processed (as of December 2017).

Learn about the Government of Canada's priority for providing  timely protection to refugees and eliminating the backlog of applications waiting to be processed.



Post-arrival >> Settlement Steps

Upon arrival in Canada, refugees are considered permanent residents and with the assistance oftheir sponsorship group, they have a lot to do and learn; especially during the first weeks and first month of settlement. Throughout the settlement period, sponsoring groups will:

  • refer to their settlement guide and checklist
  • fulfil their financial and support obligations
  • be in regular contact with the newcomers and provide updates to church leadership
  • submit settlement reports to the CMA SAH during the first month, the mid-year, and at the end of the sponsorship time period.
  • identify and discuss any challenges with the SAH representative

Review sponsorship responsibilities here: