Sponsoring refugees identified by UNHCR
You can help resettle refugees through private sponsorship or by taking part in the Canadian government’s Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) program, which connects sponsors with refugees who were already screened and interviewed.
Photo: © UNHCR/Federico Scoppa
Canada has a long tradition of welcoming refugees, and it has a variety of programs to resettle refugees. In addition to the Government-Assisted Refugees (GAR) program and the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) program, there is the Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) program, which matches refugees identified for resettlement by UNHCR with private sponsors in Canada. Costs are shared between these private sponsors and the Canadian government, with each party providing six months of financial support.
How does the Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) program work?
UNHCR refers refugees who are most at risk for resettlement to Canada, such as women and girls at risk of sexual violence, survivors of torture and violence or refugees with special medical needs. Canada then decides whether to accept a refugee and conducts thorough background and security checks to ensure their admissibility to Canada.
Refugees who are ready to travel are matched with sponsors through the help of the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program. Sponsors are groups of Canadians or organizations, including faith-based associations, ethnocultural groups or settlement organizations, who can sponsor refugees as members of one of the following three categories: Groups of Five (G5), Community Sponsors, and Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs). Learn more about these three sponsorship categories.
The Canadian government provides six months of income support and sponsors provide another six months of financial support along with practical assistance such as housing, job search, and social and emotional support.
Please note that the province of Québec does not have the Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) program. Learn more about refugee resettlement in Québec.
Why sponsor a refugee under the Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) program?
More than 1.4 million vulnerable refugees of 41 nationalities in 65 countries of asylum are in need of resettlement worldwide. But only 4.5 per cent of them were resettled in 2019. That year, only 70,000 places were made available for refugees by States around the world.
The Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) program allows for more refugees whose survival is at stake to reach safety in Canada. It provides Canadians with the opportunity to be directly involved in the process of helping refugees by assisting them to settle into their new local communities.
Please note that this program is currently suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Check back regularly for updates.
UNHCR Canada does not select refugees who will be resettled to Canada and is not able to intervene or influence the process of determining whether someone can be considered a refugee or if a refugee can be resettled to Canada. When resettlement places are offered by countries such as Canada, other UNHCR offices around the world in refugees’ countries of asylum will identify those at risk and submit their applications to these resettlement countries. Resettlement countries make the final decision as to whether or not a refugee will be admitted to their country.
Stay alert and report fraudsters who are offering you resettlement, financial or other kinds of assistance, fake documents or fake claims in exchange for money or other favours. All UNHCR services are free of charge. Do not trust anyone or any organization asking you to pay for the services of UNHCR or its partners.