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The Refugee Experience

A Sample Eritrean BVOR Refugee Profile

A single mother with two young daughters ages 5 and 7, currently living in Ethiopia. She has limited education and has worked as a cleaner. She is considered a woman at risk and cannot return to her country of origin for safety reasons. She has no contacts in Canada.

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A Sample Iraqi BVOR Refugee Profile

An Iraqi family of four, currently in Jordan, is awaiting resettlement. The father, 48, has 14 years of education and experience managing several stores. His wife, 45, has 12 years of education and experience as a teacher. Their son is 14 and their daughter is 18. Both attend school. All have some English. They cannot return to their country of origin due to fear of persecution based on religion. The father is a survivor of violence.

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In ruins...

Their property, businesses, and schools [are] in ruins, and family members [have been] killed.

  • In 2021, there were 26.6 million refugees.

  • An additional 48 million people are internally displaced (within their country)

  • In addition, an estimated 5.1 million Ukrainians have either left their country as refugees or are internally displaced

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LGBTQ+ refugees often have very limited access to education, water, housing and health care, and are regularly exposed to violence.

  • Most countries do not accept refugees as permanent residents, and they have few rights

  • Only 15% of refugees are hosted in developed countries

Image by Artem Maltsev

A Sample Afghani BVOR Refugee Profile

A married couple from Afghanistan. The family ran a small restaurant in Kabul. Their four children range in age from 5 months to 10 years of age. They are in Pakistan, living in a disused garage, and have no employment. The father has a bullet injury from a firefight between opposing factions when he was walking to their restaurant. They have no English. Their children have often been unable to go to school. They live in poverty. They are victims of war. 

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A Sample Congolese BVOR Refugee Profile

This 41 year-old mother from the Democratic Republic of Congo, currently living in Rwanda, is accompanied by her four children. She has six years of education and has worked in sales and as a housekeeper. She is considered a “woman at risk” and may benefit from additional support during settlement. The family speaks fluent French and has no contacts in Canada.


Survivors of violence and torture...

There are large numbers of survivors of violence and torture.

  • 68% of all refugees come from five countries (Afghanistan, Syria, Venezuela, South Sudan, and Myanmar)

  • Refugee women are often exposed to exploitation and abuse through domestic work or survival sex

Image by Mahmoud Sulaiman

Religious or political affiliations...

Some flee due to persecution based on religious or political affiliations.

  • Canada permanently settles about 30,000 refugees per year

  • The Canadian government has committed to supporting an additional 40,000 people fleeing Ukraine in 2022

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BVOR Refugees

  • About 1,000 of the refugees Canada settles each year are Blended Visa Office Referred (BVOR).

  • BVOR refugees are often from countries including Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan and other war-torn regions.

  • They have been identified by the UNHCR as the most vulnerable, and are referred to Canada for settlement.

  • They need additional support for resettlement.

  • BVOR refugees are granted permanent residency when they arrive and are eligible for health care.

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