Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance

Latest News

Updated November 2021: We have developed a series of web pages on welcoming Afghans to Washington state. These pages are updated regularly and feature information on the resettlement process, public benefits and other supportive services available to Afghans.

Washington Governor’s Briefing on Afghan Refugees

The Governor’s Office and DSHS Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance hosted a briefing at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 9 for state legislators, state agencies, federal delegation staff, local government, and community partners. This briefing included an overview of the refugee resettlement process, updates on Afghan arrivals, and presentations from resettlement agencies and community partners. 

For the full Video/Audio recording of the briefing please visit here.

For the Power Point Presentation of Governor's Briefing on Afghan Refugees please visit here.

For the PowerPoint Presentation on Afghan Health Updates please visit here.

Welcoming Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Holders to Washington: Program Update October 2021

What can people do to help?

Anyone interested in helping can connect directly with local refugee resettlement agencies or directly with the DSHS Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance by sending an email to

Updated Aug. 18, 2021

The Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund

The Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund is a pool of funding created during the coronavirus pandemic to support people ineligible for federal stimulus money or unemployment benefits due to their immigration status. DSHS received an additional $340 million to invest in this program to support Washington’s immigrant community impacted by the pandemic.  Currently there is no open application, and DSHS will be releasing more information to announce when community partners will open a new application for people to apply for a one-time cash grant of $1,000 per person.

To be eligible, individuals must show that they:

  • Are a Washington state resident.
  • Are at least 18 years of age.
  • Have been significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Are ineligible for the federal stimulus payment or for unemployment insurance benefits due to their immigration status.

For more information, please refer to the following documents:

For questions about public charge, please see our DSHS Public Charge page. 

COVID-19 Updates

The Washington Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance recognizes that refugee and immigrant communities are significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  ORIA partners with organizations across the state to continue to offer services that are culturally relative and in the preferred language. Program and service changes and updates related to COVID-19 will be posted here:

New COVID-19 Emergency Support Services for Refugee Fund

The Washington Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance established a fund to provide resources for refugees and other eligible immigrant individuals and families to receive short-term assistance to cover immediate needs, including rent, utilities, internet and other approved costs.  Eligible participants can access these resources by applying at one of ORIA’s contracted services providers.  Contact information is available on this program announcement.


Extension of Refugee Cash and Medical Assistance Program

Washington extended Refugee Cash and Medical Assistance benefits due to COVID-19.  If you are a single or married refugee or humanitarian immigrant without children, and are not currently receiving cash or medical assistance, you may be eligible.  Please apply by calling the DSHS Customer Service Contact Center at 877-501-2233, or you can apply online at   For more information, please refer to the program announcement.


COVID-19 Resources 

The Washington Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance has created a COVID-19 Translated Resource Directory. This directory shares information in over 100 languages with different formats, including fact sheets flyers, posters, audio recordings, and videos.


COVID-19 Response Services

In response to COVID-19, contracted service providers are offering a menu of different service options to meet the current and changing needs of immigrants and refugees in our communities.  These services include:

These services include the following:

  • Conduct a Needs Assessment that addresses overall financial stability, housing, employment, social and emotional well-being, child and youth, and elders and health and medical needs;
  • Information and referrals on resources for COVID-19, 2020 Census, public benefits and new stimulus programs and updates on available services and resources;
  • Providing and/or connecting with new services, including helping people apply for Unemployment Insurance Benefits, addressing food insecurity, addressing gaps in child care and employer outreach and engagement;
  • Education and Client Engagement offering opportunities to address social isolation through remote options, engaging volunteers to support new community members remotely and providing distance learning options for civics and ESL classes.

What We Do

About ORIA

The Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance (ORIA) is located within the State of Washington, Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), Economic Services Administration (ESA), Community Services Division (CSD). Our goal is for refugee and immigrant families and individuals to succeed and thrive in Washington State.

Can We Help You?

Washington Welcomes Refugees

Washington is home to a very large, diverse and dynamic refugee and immigrant community and has historically ranked as one of the top ten resettlement states in the U.S.

We have strong community partnerships and provide culturally appropriate services through contracts with community-based organizations, voluntary refugee resettlement agencies, local community colleges, and government agencies.

Access Our Services

Complete an application online. Find out if you are eligible and apply for services on-line using our Washington Connection portal.

Visit your local DSHS Community Services Office (CSO). If you are receiving public benefits, ask your DSHS Caseworker about ORIA services.

The Department of Social and Health Services has many other programs and services to help you. To learn more about DSHS services and how to apply for public benefits click here.

Self-sufficiency through support, education and training.