About The Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs

It is our mission to improve the lives of Seattle's immigrant and refugee residents.

Graphic showing how OIRA achieves its mission.The Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs was created to recognize the importance and need for a strong relationship between the City of Seattle government and the immigrant and refugee communities which it serves. The Office's goal will be to set measurable outcomes to ensure a consistent implementation of principles of social justice issues which include employment, economic development, public health, student achievement, citizenship, public safety, criminal justice, civic engagement, and protection of civil rights.

Our 2015 Annual Report is coming soon. Until then, you can read about some of our accomplishments in our 2014 Annual Report.

Download a flyer about the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. (Right-click, then select, "Save link as..." and save to your computer.)



Seattle Votes is a community outreach and engagement campaign to identify and better document the barriers to civic engagement for Seattle’s immigrant and refugee residents. By partnering with hundreds of organizations, thousands of Seattle-King County immigrants and refugees will have a chance to tell us why they don’t become citizens, register to vote, or vote. To take the survey or learn more about Seattle Votes.



The New Citizen Program serves low-income immigrants and refugees eligible for U.S. citizenship by funding 14 community-based organizations to provide free naturalization assistance and support in Seattle/King County. NCP also provides technical and legal assistance through the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. More about the New Citizen Program.



Refugee Women’s Institute (RWI) is an innovative program designed to build understanding and trust between Seattle refugee communities and the Seattle Police Department (SPD). The institute helps build a grassroots network of refugee women leaders while increasing the cultural competency of the participating female officers. More about the Refugee Women's Institute.The first graduating class of Ready to Work.



Ready to Work was designed for residents who face immense barriers to learning English and gaining employment. The program combines English as a Second Language (ESL) classes with computer literacy instruction and case management to help immigrants gain job readiness skills and take steps toward economic self-sufficiency. More about Ready to Work.



Our commitment to Language Access has resulted in a program and a plan with the overall goal of increasing the City’s capacity and competence in serving limited English proficient immigrant and refugee residents. More about Language Access.



We recognize that ethnic media provides essential services for immigrant and refugee communities, and thus the City strives to ensure equitable access for ethnic media to press events, ad buy opportunities, and communicating with key City staff. The City of Seattle also believes that effective outreach to immigrant and refugee communities must include an ethnic media component, including earned media and/or ad buys. More about the Ethnic Media Program.



The Office works in partnership with the Seattle Immigrant and Refugee Commission, which is made up of 15 members that reflect the diversity of the immigrant and refugee communities in Seattle. This partnership will help to establish goals and suggest policy creation to tackle any existing and emerging needs of these communities. Learn more about the commissioners.


The Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs is a proud partner
of the Mayor's Youth Employment Initiative.