The IRC in San Jose, CA

The International Rescue Committee provides opportunities for refugees, asylees, victims of human trafficking, survivors of torture, and other immigrants to thrive in America. Each year, thousands of people, forced to flee violence and persecution, are welcomed by the people of the United States into the safety and freedom of America. These individuals have survived against incredible odds. The IRC works with government bodies, civil society actors, and local volunteers to help them translate their past experiences into assets that are valuable to their new communities. In San Jose and other offices across the country, the IRC helps them to rebuild their lives.

How does the IRC help you as a refugee or an immigrant in San Jose?

Our programs are designed to ensure that you, as a refugee, thrive in America--whether ensuring your children are enrolled in school, you as an adult become self-reliant through employment or starting a business, or that your family receives the medical care you need to recover from trauma or illness. If you are in need, the IRC will help you to rebuild your life and regain control of your future in your new home community.

As a refugee, you are greeted and welcomed at the airport by IRC case workers and volunteers to ensure that your transition is as comfortable as possible. The IRC also makes sure that as a newly arrived refugee you receive:

  • A furnished home
  • Help with rent
  • Health care
  • Nutritious, affordable food
  • English language classes
  • Help building job, computer, and financial literacy skills
  • Education for your children
  • Social services and community support
  • Legal services towards residency and citizenship

Our programs in San Jose:

  • Resettlement begins when you touchdown at the airport. Within the initial three month span, the team helps you with housing, employment, benefits, health insurance, enrollment in English classes, cultural orientation, and referrals to internal and external support. Intensive case management is available for clients with special needs, for example a health condition that may require additional support.
  • Early Employment assists you in finding your very first job in the United States. This program offers basic job training, assistance with resumes and interviews, and weekly ESL classes.
  • Career Development and Financial Empowerment address your needs once you are more established, by blending workforce skills and development with financial education and coaching to help you build a sustainable career and long term financial stability. 
  • Immigration not only serves you as a refugee or asylee client; we serve any low-income immigrant population. The department provides assistance in applying for Green Cards, Citizenship/Naturalization, travel documents, employment authorization, visa applications, petitioning for family reunification, CAM/AOR, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). 
  • Anti-Trafficking strives to provide timely, high-quality, comprehensive services to survivors of human trafficking as well as raise awareness and educate the public through collaboration and coordination with law enforcement and other community organizations.


What immigration services does the IRC provide to the wider community?

The IRC's Immigration Program can help you petition to bring family members to the U.S., apply for citizenship, green cards, work authorization, travel documents, and more. In addition, we partner with local service providers, libraries, and schools to conduct free programming across the region. The IRC is recognized by the Department of Justice to provide immigration legal services and our services are available to any immigrant community in Northern California.

Have more questions or want to make an appointment with our immigration staff? Visit the Immigration Program Page, send an email or call (408) 277-0255 extensions 203 or 208. 

Who are refugees?

Refugees are people fleeing violence and persecution—in Afghanistan, El Salvador, Sudan, Ukraine, and other countries in crisis. They are seeking safety and the opportunity to move their lives forward.

Why are refugees arriving in San Jose?

The United States has a long tradition of sheltering those fleeing conflict and persecution. Once refugees have been identified by the United Nations refugee agency and cleared for resettlement, the U.S. government works with the IRC and eight other national resettlement agencies to help them restart their lives in America. Out of the nearly 100 million refugees in the world, fewer than one percent are considered for resettlement worldwide.

Refugees may be placed in a city where they have relatives or friends, or where there’s an established community that shares their language or culture. Other considerations include the cost of living and a community’s ability to provide services. However, as legal U.S. residents, refugees may live in any city and state they choose.

Learn more about how refugee resettlement works.

What do refugees contribute to San Jose?

Once they acclimate to their new environment, refugees often thrive and contribute to their communities, building careers, purchasing homes, gaining citizenship.

How can I help refugees in San Jose?

There are many ways that you can get involved with the IRC’s work in San Jose. You can: 

Donate: Give a tax-deductible financial contribution either via the website or send it to our office.

Volunteer or Intern: Review current opportunities and learn about the process you need to go through to become an IRC volunteer or intern.

Donate New or Gently Used Items Needed for Refugees: We collect items that help refugees, asylees, victims of trafficking and other immigrants start out on the right foot. See how you can help.

Spread the Word: Consider hosting your own fundraising campaign. Stay connected via our newsletter, follow us on Facebook, and ask others to do the same!

Other Ways to Get Involved: Employ refugees or connect us to affordable housing options.

Contact [email protected] for more detailed information on how you can contribute to a good cause. 

How do I volunteer or intern at IRC San Jose?

Thank you for your interest in welcoming refugees to your community. By volunteering with the IRC in San Jose, CA, you use your skills to help people who have fled violence and persecution rebuild their lives in America. 

In order to become a volunteer you must complete the following process:

  1. Review available opportunities here, and confirm you meet the minimum requirements for the opportunity you are interested in.
  2. Submit an online application, including the opportunities you are interested in in the "top three positions that interest you" section as well as your availability and relevant skills. The inclusion of resumes and cover letters is highly appreciated for all, but only required for interns and mentors.
  3. Complete interviews and clear a background check.
  4. Complete orientation and submit paperwork.
  5. Begin your service!

*You must be 18 years or older and clear a background check in order to volunteer or intern with the IRC in San Jose

Our impact


people in the U.S. received asylum and protection support.

IRC offices across the U.S. provide immediate aid--including food, housing and medical attention—among other support.

Learn about resettlement and asylum


people were assisted to become new U.S. citizens.

The IRC offers high-quality, low-cost immigration legal services and citizenship assistance in cities across the U.S.

Learn about immigration


Our economic empowerment support includes financial coaching, vocational training and asset building.

people with training to help them build careers and income.

Learn more