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 2014-2015 Five-point Action Plan.

2012 Legislation creating an Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs.



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.



Developed by the Immigrant Voting Task Force, this report looks at the issues that affect civic and political participation by immigrant communities in the City of Seattle and lists a series of recommendations to increase voting for the City's newest immigrant citizens. The City is working to ensure that immigrant residents are part of our vibrant democracy and is using innovative and community-driven ideas to overcome challenges to civic participation. Read the Immigrant Voting Task Force Report.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.



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 our commissioners.