Immigrant and Refugee Support Services (IRSS)

Immigrant and Refugee Support Services (IRSS) was created to promote three pillars key to supporting immigrant and refugee students during their journey to UWinnipeg and beyond: recruitment, transition, and retention. Dedicated supports assist students through each step of the process.

Some of the services offered to University of Winnipeg students through Immigrant and Refugee Support include:

  • Personalized counselling on admission requirements, the application process, regulations and policies, and selecting a program of interest
  • Assistance with course selection, registration and explanation of degree requirements
  • Transition support, including academic advising, study skills workshops, and free tutoring
  • Connection to supports such as career services, counselling, housing, and financial services
  • An optional first-year Mentor Program
  • Fun events and activities to meet and connect with other UWinnipeg students

david-atem.jpegFor more information on the available resources, supports, and services, please contact David Atem, Immigrant and Refugee Liaison Officer (pictured), at 204.258.2910 or

David also looks forward to meeting students at the International, Immigrant and Refugee Student Services office, located at 491 Portage Avenue (by appointment).

Immigrant and Refugee Student Volunteer Group

The IRSS-Volunteer Students Group (IRSS-VSG) consists of immigrant and refugee students at UWinnipeg who:

  • Support one another socially and academically
  • Create a sense of belonging among the immigrant and refugee populations
  • Work with IIRSS staff to overcome the challenges of transition and retention by encouraging peers to seek help when needed
  • Act as a voice for immigrants and refugees within the University of Winnipeg
  • Take the lead in planning IRSS social student events

IRSS-VSG goals are both short and long-term!

Short Term:

  • Make connections within UWinnipeg’s student bodies and groups
  • Promote IRSS immigrant and refugee activities to incoming students
  • Be active on social media to share and promote the group activities or events

Long Term:

  • Establish a stable group that provides help and supports to immigrant/refugee students
  • Be connected with the immigrant/refugee youth organizations in Winnipeg and Manitoba
  • Give support to newcomer students in community agencies when needed and serve as role models and mentors
  • Engage newcomer student populations through dedicated events for UWinnipeg refugee students
  • Create a space to reflect on the journeys of those in an IRSS-VSG, as well as for immigrant and refugee populations
  • Help plan and participate in the IRSS cultural day in November each year
  • Students who participated in the IRSS social activities can approach a team leader and express her/his interest in wanting to get involved in the group

Settlement Service Providers

The Manitoba Association of Newcomer Serving Organization (MANSO) is a non-profit organization that acts as an umbrella organization for settlement service providers in Manitoba. 

UWinnipeg Immigrant and Refugee Support Services (IRSS) works closely with MANSO and immigrant and refugee agencies and community groups, including Peaceful Village, IRCOM, Welcome Place, Needs Centre, Immigration Partnership Winnipeg & Social Planning Council of Winnipeg, and more.

If you are a newcomer requiring support in your transition to Manitoba, we urge you to explore the agencies promoted in MANSO’s directory.

Awards and Financial Aid: Opportunity Fund

The Opportunity Fund is a bursary program created to ease the financial burden to the under-represented populations in post-secondary education, including new Canadians and refugees. It is administered by the Awards and Financial Aid office, and the application deadline is mid-September every year. Visit the Opportunity Fund for more information.

There are many other great sources of information regarding awards and student aid on their website.

World University Services of Canada

World University Services of Canada (WUSC) is a non-profit organization and sponsorship agreement holder with Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). This agreement allows WUSC and its associated groups (i.e. WUSC UWinnipeg Local Committee) to sponsor refugees to Canada. WUSC Local Committees are groups of students and staff at universities and colleges across Canada that participate in WUSC’s Student Refugee Program (SRP).

The Student Refugee Program is the only program in the world that provides young refugees with resettlement and an opportunity to pursue higher education in a safe and supportive environment. Crucial to the program’s success is its unique youth-to-youth sponsorship model which empowers young Canadian students to play an active role in the sponsorship of refugee students for a minimum of 12 months. At UWinnipeg, the local committee sponsors two refugee students each year, with the goal to increase the sponsorship to three in the coming years.

The Local Committee raises funds through student levies and awareness for the program on campus and in the general community. Local committees play a critical role in offering day-to-day social, financial literacy, and academic support to SRP students. The WUSC Local Committee at the University of Winnipeg has resettled more than 47 refugee students to Canada since 1981.

For more information about the SRP program please visit this link.

For activities and to join the WUSC local committee at UWinnipeg, please visit their social media pages: Instagram and Facebook.