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Sponsor a refugee through a group of five (G5)

Sponsor a Refugee through a Group of Five (G5)

A Group of Five (G5) is five or more Canadian citizens or permanent residents who have arranged to sponsor a refugee living abroad to come to Canada. G5s can only sponsor applicants who are recognized as refugees by either the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) or a foreign state.

The principal applicant must already have refugee status. The term "having refugee status" means that an authorized body has found that an individual meets its refugee definition. This authorized body can either be the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or the government of the country (foreign state) where the refugee is now living.

To be eligible for G5, each member of the group must:

  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident

  • be at least 18 years old

  • live in the same community where the refugee is expected to settle, and

  • agree to give settlement support for the length of the sponsorship (usually one year).


Your group must provide a settlement plan. However, settlement plan is a plan of what you and members of your group will need to do to help and support the newcomer(s) during the sponsorship. You must prove that your group has the money to sponsor a refugee for one year and the amount of money needed depend on the number of refugees you want to sponsor.

You must also include with the refugee sponsorship application a document proving refugee status recognition that the UNHCR or a foreign state has issued. They accept a photocopy of the original document.

In some cases, a G5 may want to sponsor a specific refugee or refugee family abroad, such as a family member, friend, or refugee identified by an overseas contact. This is called a "sponsor-referred refugee."

Sponsor–referred refugees must qualify under Canada’s refugee and humanitarian resettlement program. Both the sponsor and the refugee must fill out an application. After applying, officers abroad will assess the application to decide whether the person you want to sponsor qualifies.

There is a program called the Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) program which brings refugees with the greatest need to Canada.


The program has three main benefits that include:

  • reduces the financial burden on private sponsors

  • prioritizes the most vulnerable refugees through referral organizations

  • connects sponsors with refugees we’ve already screened and interviewed, making them ready to travel sooner

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