Government of Canada increases sponsorship opportunities for Sponsorship Agreement Holders

February 17, 2023—Ottawa—Canada continues to be a global leader in refugee resettlement and integration. Since the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) Program was launched over 4 decades ago, Canadians and permanent residents have come together to offer protection and a safe, permanent home for tens of thousands of refugees each year. Key to the program’s success are over 130 organizations, known as sponsorship agreement holders (SAHs), who sponsor refugees year after year.

As the program continues to grow, so too has the number of these community organizations who want to support refugees. In recognition of this growth, the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, today announced that the number of refugees that SAHs can sponsor is increasing to 13,500 in 2023. This represents a 10-fold increase from when the cap was introduced in 2012, or an increase of 12,150 spaces available to SAHs.

The additional cap spaces will allow new SAHs to get their operations off the ground, while helping experienced organizations continue to grow. These organizations manage all aspects of the sponsorship process, from identifying refugees and submitting applications to providing critical support to sponsored newcomers.

The PSR Program complements Canada’s other 2 resettlement programs: the Government-Assisted Refugee Program (GAR) and the Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) Program. Together, they help Canada welcome more refugees each year than the Government of Canada could resettle alone and are one of the many ways Canada is working to achieve its goal of welcoming over 83,500 privately sponsored refugees by 2025.

Both Canada’s PSR and BVOR programs are models for other countries around the world. Through its participation in the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative (GRSI), Canada encourages and supports the adoption and expansion of community sponsorship programs tailored to local needs. The GRSI has supported the development of programs in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom and, most recently, the United States. 

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