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Group of Five


A Group of Five (G5) is five (5) or more Canadian citizens or permanent residents who have arranged to sponsor a refugee living abroad to come to Canada.


G5s may 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. Having refugee status means that an authorized body has found that an individual meets its refugee definition. This authorized body can either be the UNHCR or the government of the country (i.e., foreign state) where the refugee is currently living.


Each year, millions of people around the world are forced to flee their homeland to escape persecution, war, or severe human rights abuses. Often, these people are permanently displaced and are never able to return home. In keeping with its humanitarian tradition and international obligations, the Government of Canada assists thousands of displaced persons every year through its Government-Assisted Refugee program.


Canadian citizens and permanent residents can provide additional opportunities for refugees living abroad to find protection and build a new life in Canada through the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) program. This guide explains how the private sponsorship program works, who may be sponsored, the obligations involved, and the application process.


Steps for A Group of Five to Sponsor A Refugee Living Abroad


Step 1: Understanding who is involved in a sponsorship application

Parties to the sponsorship


Parties to the sponsorship (also known as group members, sponsors, or the sponsoring group) include every person who signs the Sponsorship Undertaking as part of a Group of Five (G5) sponsorship application. It is important to remember that all parties to the sponsorship are jointly and severally or solidarily liable.


A Group of Five is any group of five or more Canadian citizens, Registered Indians, or permanent residents who are 18 years of age or older and who live (or have representatives) in the community where the refugees are expected to settle.


Sponsors are responsible to ensure that the necessary settlement support is provided for the full duration of the sponsorship, normally 12 months. The sponsorship group must show that it has the necessary financial resources, expertise, and commitment required to fulfill the terms of the sponsorship


Step 2: Make sure you are eligible to sponsor

General eligibility requirements for sponsors


The group must:

  • Be composed of five or more individuals; and
  • Have collectively agreed to sponsor a refugee living abroad.


Each sponsor must:

  • Be 18 years old or older;
  • Be a Canadian citizen, Registered Indian, or a Permanent Resident of Canada;
  • Reside in the expected community of settlement (or appoint a representative who does); and
  • Not be ineligible to be a party to a sponsorship under 156(1) IRPR.:
    • a person who has been convicted in Canada of the offense of murder or an offense set out in Schedule I or II to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, regardless of whether it was prosecuted by indictment if a period of five years has not elapsed since the completion of the person’s sentence
    • a person who has been convicted of an offense outside Canada that, if committed in Canada, would constitute an offense referred to in paragraph (a), if a period of five years has not elapsed since the completion of the person’s sentence imposed under a foreign law
    • a person who is in default of any support payment obligations ordered by a court
    • a person who is subject to a removal order
    • a person who is subject to a revocation proceeding under the Citizenship Act
    • a person who is detained in any penitentiary, jail, reformatory, or prison worship undertaking


Step 3: Make sure the principal applicant abroad is eligible to be sponsored


To sponsor a person who is currently living abroad under the PSR program:

  • This person must be a recognized refugee by either the UNHCR or a foreign state.
  • The person must reside outside their home country and cannot or is not able to return to their home country for fear of being persecuted.
  • The person must meet the definition of:
    • A Convention refugee as per section 96 of the Immigration and Refugees Protection Act (IRPA) they have a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion; or
    • Member of the asylum class as per R147 of IRPR as they have been, and continue to be, seriously and personally affected by civil war, armed conflict, or massive violation of human rights.


To prove that a person is a recognized refugee and to allow you to sponsor, you must submit a refugee status determination (RSD) document with your sponsorship application.


Step 4: Documents Checklist


Kindly take note of the following:

  • Keep a copy of each application you submit and do not submit original documents
  • If your application is approved or refused or if you decide to withdraw your application, it will not be returned to you
  • You must submit a complete sponsorship application for each permanent residence application. For example, if you want to sponsor three brothers, you will need to submit three (3) sponsorship applications and three (3) permanent residence applications.
  • Forms that are not specific to the case, such as Sponsor Assessment [IMM 5492] (PDF, 2.1 MB) must be copied and included in each application
  • Documents that are not specific to the case, such as a criminal record check, must be copied and included in each application


Step 5: Gather documents


You must submit all required documents, and you can submit as many additional documents as you want to support your application and demonstrate that you meet the sponsorship requirements.


It is your responsibility to submit an application which demonstrates that you are eligible to sponsor. Please note that in most cases, a decision will be rendered based on the evidence you submit with your application and you will not be contacted for missing documents or information.


Step 6: Fill in the forms


Forms cannot be completed and saved using only your internet browser. You will need to download the forms to complete them.


Who can be a member of a Group of Five?


To be eligible, 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 assistance and support for the length of the sponsorship (usually one year).


How long will this process take?


At the time of submitting the sponsorship undertaking, the group will have to provide information on their financial resources as well as their ability and commitment to supporting the sponsored refugee(s) for the sponsorship period, which is usually 12 months.


For more information, you may contact our consultant at WestSun Immigration Services, Inc.

Email: [email protected]

WhatsApp: +1 (778) 513-3794

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