2.A Refugees: From Eligibility to Arrival
A.8 How are refugees transported and how are destinations chosen?
(i) What steps are required to arrange transportation, and who is responsible for each step?
How Canada Does It
Canada and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) work together to coordinate travel arrangements. In some cases, Canada may work with other agencies to arrange travel logistics. Arranging travel includes securing travel documentation, exit permits, flight logistics, and reception in Canada.
Canada has contracted IOM to deliver certain services, including:
- In-country transportation (where necessary);
- Pre-departure accommodation (where necessary);
- Obtaining travel documents and exit permits;
- Assisting refugees in completing transportation loans forms;
- Providing refugee transit centre accommodation;
- Giving pre-embarkation flight orientation;
- Making international airline bookings (often at reduced rates);
- Arranging passenger assistance at departure, transit, and arrival airports; and
- Providing operational and/or medical escorts.
Canada may also work with the International Committee for the Red Cross or other agencies to arrange travel documents where necessary.
Canada is responsible for issuing the appropriate documentation to permit entry into Canada. Usually this comes in the form of a permanent resident visa. If the refugee does not have a passport, it may be possible for the refugee to travel using a travel document issued by the International Committee for the Red Cross, a UNHCR Provisional Travel Certificate, or a Single Journey Travel Document issued by the Government of Canada.
Once travel arrangements are made, the overseas visa office will send a Notification of Arrival Transmission to the Resettlement Operations Centre in Ottawa, which in turn notifies sponsors of the refugees’ date and time of arrival. Privately sponsored refugees will be welcomed at the airport by their sponsor(s), who will provide assistance with their immediate settlement needs, including temporary accommodation, food, and clothing.