Refugee and humanitarian resettlement programs Canada

Who is it for?

People who have fled their countries because of a well-founded fear of persecution.


How does it work?

The Canadian refugee system has two main parts:

  • The Refugee and Humanitarian Resettlement Program, for people who need protection from outside Canada. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), along with private sponsors, identifies refugees for resettlement. A person cannot apply directly for immigration to Canada. After they are identified, it takes time to process the cases.
  • The In-Canada Asylum Program for people making refugee protection claims from within Canada. The asylum program works to provide refugee protection to people in Canada who have a well-founded fear of persecution or are at risk of torture, or cruel or unusual punishment in their home countries.


What’s the advantage?

Canada’s recent refugee resettlement efforts have been lauded worldwide, particularly with respect to the tens of thousands of Syrians who have been resettled in Canada since 2015. Canada’s programs make sure that there are no issues related to security, criminality, or health, while also providing a safe haven for eligible refugees and asylum seekers.


How much does it cost?

Fees depend on the program and whether or not private sponsors are involved in the application.


How long does it take?

Processing times depend on where you are applying from. See here for details.


Other considerations

Under Canada’s multi-year immigration levels plan, Canada plans on gradually increasing the number of new permanent residents admitted as refugees or for humanitarian reasons annually, from around 49,700 in 2020 to more than 50,000 in the years beyond.


Where can I learn more?

How Canada’s refugee system works.

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