Refugee Law

Refugee claimants
Refugee protection is granted to people in Canada who fear persecution or whose removal from Canada would subject them to a danger of torture, a risk to their life or a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.

Applying from outside Canada
How can a person living outside of Canada apply for protection?
Refugees living outside of Canada have the option of entering Canada as permanent residents under Canada’s resettlement program.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada uses three legal processes to resettle refugees in Canada.

  • The three refugee classes are:
  • Convention Refugees Abroad Class
  • Country of Asylum Class
  • Source Country Class

Convention Refugees Abroad are the most common class of refugees. Foreign Nationals who want to qualify for this settlement option must satisfy an immigration officer that they are Convention refugees.

Who is a Convention Refugee Abroad
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act defines a Convention Refugee as someone who is outside their home country, or the country where they normally live, and can’t return to that country because of a well-founded fear of persecution based on: a) race; b) religion; c) political opinion; d) nationality or e) membership in a particular social group.

Applying from within Canada
Canada offers protection to people whose removal from Canada would subject them to a danger of torture, a risk to their life or a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.

If you feel that you will be persecuted or otherwise at risk if you return to your home country, you may be able to seek protection in Canada as a refugee.

How to apply for refugee protection within Canada
There are two ways to apply for refugee protection in Canada:

  • You can make a claim when you arrive in Canada, at the port of entry (for example, the airport or sea port).
  • You can also make a claim from within Canada at a Citizenship and Immigration Canada office.

When making a refugee claim, the Immigration Officer receiving your claim will decide whether it is eligible to be referred to the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB).

Who is not eligible to apply?

You are not eligible to claim refugee protection if:

You have been recognized as a Convention refugee by another country to which you can return;

  • You have already been granted protected person status in Canada;
  • You arrived via the Canada-United States;
  • You are inadmissible to Canada on security grounds, or because of criminal activity or human rights violations;
  • You have previously made refugee claim that was found to be ineligible for referral to the IRB;
  • You made a previous refugee claim that was rejected by the IRB; or
  • You abandoned or withdrew a previous refugee claim.

Sponsoring a Refugee

Each year, there are millions of people who are forced to leave their homeland to escape persecution, war or severe human rights abuses. Often these people are never able to return home.

The Private Sponsorship of Refugee Programs allows groups and individuals to sponsor refugees from abroad who qualify to come to Canada.

What are the responsibilities of the sponsor?

The responsibilities of the sponsor include: assistance with financial settlement once the refugee arrives in Canada, as well as emotional and other significant settlement assistance for the duration of the sponsorship period.

Most sponsorships last for one year, but some refugees may be eligible to receive assistance from their sponsors for a longer period of time.

Pre-Removal Risk Assessment

What is a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment?

A Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (or PRRA) is an assessment whether there is a well-founded risk that a person’s removal from Canada will result in a risk to life, of persecution, torture or cruel or unusual treatment.

This is in line with Canada’s policy of not wanting to send people back to a country where they will be in danger or would face the risk of persecution. There is no guarantee that an applicant will be found eligible under any of these processes.

Who can apply for a PRRA?
A person told to leave Canada will be provided a notice that a removal order is being enforced against them. At this time, if you are eligible, you will be given an opportunity to apply for a pre-removal risk assessment.

Persons who have had a refugee claim or a permanent resident application can apply for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA).

If you previously made a refugee claim which was rejected, the officer will only consider new evidence or evidence which you were not able to present at your refugee hearing.

Persons who have had a negative Pre-Removal Risk Assessment can apply again for a PRRA.

Can one be deported before a PRRA decision is made?

Persons who have a removal order issued against them and apply for a PRRA will have their removal order stayed until a final determination is made on their application.

This only applies to one’s first PRRA application but not to subsequent applications made after a refusal of the first PRRA.

What happens after a decision is made?

If a PRRA officer accepts your application, you may receive the status of “protected person,” which allows you to apply to become a permanent resident.

If the PRRA officer rejects your application your removal order comes into effect again and you may receive a reasonable period of time to ensure your departure from Canada.

If your application is rejected, you may apply to the Federal Court of Canada for a review of the PRRA officer’s decision.