Refugees and Asylum

Canada has a two tier refugee system: the Refugee and Humanitarian Resettlement Program, for people who need protection from outside Canada and the In-Canada Asylum Program for people making refugee protection claims from within Canada.

Refugees Welcome

More Details for Refugee Claimants and Asylum Seekers

Refugees are people who have fled their countries because of a well-founded fear of persecution. They are not able to return home. They have seen or experienced many horrors. A refugee is different from an immigrant. An immigrant is a person who chooses to settle permanently in another country. Refugees are forced to flee. Refugees who come to Canada have left their homes, and in many cases they have had to live in refugee camps for many years. When they arrive in Canada, they have to start their lives over again.

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Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Refugee and Humanitarian
Resettlement Program

Refugee and Humanitarian
Resettlement Program

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), along with private sponsors, identifies refugees for resettlement. A person cannot apply directly to Canada for resettlement. After they are identified, it takes time to process the cases.

Private sponsors across the country also help resettle refugees to Canada. Some do this on an ongoing basis. They have signed sponsorship agreements with the Government of Canada to help support refugees. These groups are known as Sponsorship Agreement Holders.

Sponsorship Agreement Holders can sponsor refugees themselves, or work with others in the community to do so.

Other sponsors, known as Groups of Five and Community Sponsors, are people or groups in the community who have come together to sponsor refugee(s). They do not generally sponsor refugees on an ongoing basis.

The Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) Program matches refugees identified by the UNHCR with private sponsors in Canada.

Under Canadian laws, all resettlement cases must be carefully screened and scrutinized. This is to ensure no issues related to security, criminality, or health exist. The Canadian government works with its security partners to complete this work as quickly as possible.

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Work Permit Program

Work Permit Program

The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Program allows students who have graduated from eligible Canadian designated learning institutions (DLIs) to obtain an open work permit to gain valuable Canadian work experience. Skilled Canadian work experience in Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER) categories 0, 1, 2 or 3 that is gained through the PGWP Program helps graduates qualify for permanent residence in Canada through the Canadian experience class within Express Entry.

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Post-graduation Work Permit Eligibility Requirements

Only 1 post-graduation work permit is issued during the lifetime of an applicant. To obtain a post-graduation work permit, the applicant must currently have valid temporary status in Canada or have left Canada. They must have graduated from an eligible designated learning institution (DLI). They further must submit clear evidence that they meet all of the criteria noted below:

  • They have completed an academic, vocational or professional training program at an eligible institution in Canada that is at least 8 months in duration leading to a degree, diploma or certificate.
  • They have maintained full-time student status in Canada during each academic session of the program or programs of study they have completed and submitted as part of their post-graduation work permit application. Exceptions can be made only for the following:
  • They have received a transcript and an official letter from the eligible DLI confirming that they have met the requirements to complete their program of study.Note: The transcript and official letter must be included in a post-graduation work permit application.

Within 180 days of the date of applying for the post-graduation work permit, applicants must also meet one of the following criteria:

  • They hold a valid study permit.
  • They held a study permit.
  • They were authorized to study in Canada without the requirement to obtain a study permit under paragraphs 188(1)(a) and (b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.
Bridging Open Work Permit

Bridging Open Work Permit
(for Permanent Residence Applicants)

Bridging Open Work Permit
(for Permanent Residence Applicants)

A bridging open work permit (BOWP) lets you keep working while you wait for the results of your permanent residence application. You may be eligible if you applied to one of the permanent residence programs below.

Work Permit Eligibility for
Family Members of Foreign Workers

Work Permit Eligibility for
Family Members of Foreign Workers

Commensing January 30, 2023, family members of most foreign workers can apply for an open work permit. A few exceptions may apply to family members of low-skilled workers.

You may be eligible for this temporary measure if you’re a family member of a principal foreign worker in Canada who is any of the following:

  • High-Skilled Worker
  • Low-Skilled Worker
  • Work permit holder who has applied or will apply for permanent residence through an economic immigration program
Family Work Permit

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