What is Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR)
Canada is a country of immigrants with a varied history of welcoming refugees and newcomers from all over the world. The many military campaigns in South East Asia during the 1970’s caused a mass exodus of refugees who desperately needed help and support. It was the plight and flight of these refugees that was the genesis of the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) program. Canadian churches and community groups recognized these people particularly needed support and so they worked tirelessly to find safe places for them to live in Canada. The Government of Canada formalized this process of Canadians sponsoring refugees from overseas in the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program (PSR) in 1979. Canada was the first country in the world to have a refugee sponsorship program and it has now become a model for other countries around the world.  


How PSR Works

Processing times for Private Sponsorship of Refugees program

While the Government of Canada has many embassies and visa posts around the world many do not process refugee applications. This limitation leads to wait times of anywhere from 1 to 9 years before a refugee is interviewed, accepted, granted a visa and arrives in Canada. During this processing time the case must be reviewed regularly by the SAH and group and if the family composition, location or overall circumstances change the file must be amended and these changes identified to CIC to ensure these changes do not cause more delays in the process.

You can download AURA's factsheet Refugee Sponsorship: An Overview here.

PSR Works

PSR is usually the fourth largest resettlement program in the world, after the governments of the USA, Canada, and Australia.

Refugees who arrive in Canada through the PSR program become self-supporting much more quickly than refugees who are completely supported by the government.

PSR is the only program in the world that allows private citizens to help refugees directly through the resettlement process.  


Why Canada helps refugees through PSR

PSR is aligned with the Government of Canada’s objective of upholding Canada’s humanitarian tradition of protecting those in need.

PSR is aligned with CIC refugee protection mandate, which is derived from the 2002 Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).

PSR supports the CIC strategic outcome of successful integration of newcomers and promotion of Canadian citizenship.

Canada is one of 16 countries that take part in United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) resettlement programs.

In 2002, Canada endorsed the UNHCR’s Agenda for Protection, which focuses on activities to strengthen international protection of asylum-seekers and refugees.



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