Achieving full refugee status in Canada enables individuals to reside in the country and enjoy certain privileges, including the right to work and receive healthcare. Somehow, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms safeguards fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and religion.
Those awaiting a decision on their refugee claim are referred to as refugee claimants, and their case is subject to a hearing at the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). During this hearing, claimants have the opportunity to present their story, and a board member will determine whether or not they qualify for refugee application Canada.
It is worth noting that the wait for a hearing can be prolonged, often exceeding a year. However, individuals with a pending refugee claim still possess certain rights, such as the ability to apply for employment, education, basic healthcare, and social benefits like Ontario Works and Ontario Disability. Additionally, children of refugee claimants are entitled to attend school.
After receiving Canada refugee application, it is possible to apply for permanent resident status. Being a permanent resident grants individuals the freedom to live, work, and study anywhere in Canada, as well as access most social benefits, including education and healthcare. To maintain permanent resident status, it is necessary to reside in Canada for at least two years within every five-year period.
Moreover, obtaining permanent resident status enables the possibility to apply for Canadian citizenship, provided that specific eligibility criteria are met. It is worth noting that Canadian authorities have the power to remove individuals from the country if they discover that false information was provided during the permanent residency or Refugee application in Canada.
It is essential to note that permanent residents are subject to specific requirements and could lose their status if they fail to adhere to them. Additionally, individuals convicted of certain crimes may face deportation. Refugees or protected persons may also lose their permanent resident status through alternative means.
You must be a Convention Refugee or a Person in Need of Protection to apply for refugee status in Canada.
If you find yourself outside of your home country or your country of normal residence and have a well-founded fear of persecution, it may not be feasible for you to return to your country of origin. Persecution can manifest on the basis of one of five grounds: race, religion, political opinion, nationality, or membership in a particular social group.
In the event of persecution, government authorities within your country may be the source of such mistreatment, or the persecution may come from non-governmental actors. If the latter is the case, it is necessary to demonstrate that your home country’s government is unable or unwilling to deliver you with protection.
Gender-based persecution may fall under the category of “membership in a particular social group.” Gender may also intersect with other grounds of persecution, such as religion or race. As such, it may be possible to make a claim based on multiple factors, such as gender, religion, and race.
Example #1: In cases of domestic abuse, it is crucial for victims to receive proper support and protection from the authorities. However, there are instances where victims, such as women reporting abuse to the police, may not be believed or granted the necessary protection.
Example #2: Women who face persecution due to their religion or gender may seek refugee status based on their well-founded fear of persecution. It is important to note that experiencing persecution is not a requirement for obtaining Canada refugee application. The government will examine the experiences of other women in similar situations to determine the existence of a “well-founded fear of persecution.”
Persons in Need of Protection: Due to the limited definition of “Convention Refugee,” many claims may not fit within this category. However, if unsuccessful as a Convention Refugee, an alternative option is to make a claim as a “person in need of protection.” This category does not require a connection between the danger or risk faced and the five listed grounds.
To qualify as a person in need of protection, the individual must meet specific criteria. If returning to their home country or country of residence would result in the danger of torture, risk to life, or cruel and unusual treatment or punishment, they may qualify. The risk must be personal and not just a general threat faced by others in their country. It cannot result from government laws, except if they violate international standards. Inadequate health or medical care cannot be the cause, and no state protection should be available.
Moreover, to be considered either a Convention refugee or a person in need of protection, the individual must demonstrate that there is no other safe place in their country to avoid persecution or the risk they face.
The following are the general steps in the refugee application in Canada process:
What to do if Your Refugee Claim is Rejected by the IRB
To apply for refugee status in Canada, individuals must submit an application to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) in what is known as making a refugee claim. The claimant may choose to make their claim either upon entering Canada at a port of entry, such as an airport or seaport, or after arriving in Canada at a CIC office.
It is highly recommended that claimants make their claim upon arrival at the port of entry or as soon as possible after arriving in Canada. Waiting to make a claim can make it more difficult to prove a genuine fear of returning to their home country. It is important to note that once a removal order has been issued, making a refugee claim is no longer possible.
Following the claim submission, an eligibility interview with an immigration officer will be conducted to determine if the claim is eligible for a hearing at the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB).
In this interview, the officer will may ask questions about:
Upon completion of the interview, the officer will assess your eligibility for a hearing at the IRB. In the event that a decision is not rendered within a three-day period, a hearing will be scheduled automatically.
But there are caveats to the Safe-Third Country protocol. You may still be eligible for a hearing if you meet certain criteria, such as being under the age of 18, being unaccompanied by an adult, having a valid visa or work/study permit, or having been accused of or convicted of a crime that carries the death penalty in the United States or another country.
Applicants should be aware that as of the 21st of June, 2019, they may be considered unsuitable if they have previously made a refugee claim in a country with a “information sharing agreement,” regardless of the outcome of their claim. The UK, Australia, and New Zealand are also part of this group. You should consult a counsel as quickly as possible if you are denied a review.
An attorney could ask the Federal Court to reconsider an IRB ruling. Eligible: If you meet the requirements, your application will be sent to the IRB for further review. You will get a Basis of Claim (BOC) document and details on how the review procedure works. Individuals seeking refugee status in Canada must complete a Declaration of Identity and Statement of Grounds for Fear of Return to Country of Origin (BOC).
This questionnaire must be completed accurately and contain as much relevant information as feasible. Use an interpreter to assist you complete out the questionnaire if you need to. The board member will query you about the information you provided on the BOC form at the meeting.
If you meet the requirements, your application will be sent to the IRB for further review. You will get a Basis of Claim (BOC) document and details on how the review procedure works. Individuals seeking refugee status in Canada must complete a Declaration of Identity and Statement of Grounds for Fear of Return to Country of Origin (BOC). This questionnaire must be completed accurately and contain as much relevant information as feasible. Use an interpreter to assist you complete out the questionnaire if you need to. The board member will query you about the information you provided on the BOC form at the meeting.
If your claim is deemed eligible, it will be referred to the IRB, and you will be provided with information regarding the hearing process as well as a Basis of Claim (BOC) form. The BOC form requires you to provide information about yourself, the reasons why you fear returning to your country of origin, and why you require refugee protection in Canada.
It is imperative that this form is accurately completed and includes as much information as possible. If necessary, a translator can assist in filling out the form. During the hearing, the board member will inquire about the contents of the BOC form.
Upon receipt of your BOC, the IRB will assess your claim and convene a hearing to reach a decision. The timeline for hearings varies based on the type of claimant.
For general refugee claimants, the hearing is scheduled within 60 days from the referral. For “Designated Country of Origin” (DCO) claimants, the hearing takes place within 30-45 days from the referral.
It can be a daunting task, especially for survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault. It is an opportunity to recount the persecution that was faced in the home country. In such cases, reliving past trauma can be extremely challenging. We recommend discussing available options with your legal counsel.
It’s possible that you can Submit evidence outside of the courtroom in the form of a statement or video recording. Testify before a council whose members have received specialized training in coping with issues of abuse against women. How might one go about gathering proof to back up an argument based on gender? Evidence is anything that can be presented to back up a claim or assertion. When making your case at the meeting, you’ll need to bring proof to back up your claims.
Evidence of aggression against you in the form of photographs or recordings (bruises or someone verbally abusing you) Journal entries from before CBT where you describe feeling bodily or mentally hurt Articles from local newspapers or periodicals discussing the state of women’s rights in your nation or your personal experience with violence. Evidence of your tale and your attempt to get assistance from the authorities can be found in police records. Communications from people who are aware of your oppression, such as neighbors, relatives, or local groups.
If they hear that your spouse was violent toward you, for instance, Medical documentation such as medications or notes from a doctor, Credentials in higher education and high school, Learn more about the state of affairs in your nation. The required proof varies from case to case because of this. This is why it is crucial to consult with an immigration attorney, who can inform you of the additional documentation you will need to submit.
If the IRB finds that you meet the criteria for refugee status under the Convention on the Status of Refugees or that you are a person in need of protection, you will be granted protected person status and be eligible to file for permanent resident status in Canada. You will not be considered a “protected person” if your claim is denied, though you may have some recourse.
Read the OWJN piece titled “What are my options if my claim is denied” for more details. Helpful Materials: Visit https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship.html for more information on Canada’s immigration, refugee, and citizenship policies. Official Canadian Government Site for Immigrants and Refugees
http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/Eng/Pages/index.aspx Online at the ICCRC:
‘’’ An applicant may be eligible for legal assistance to help them draft their Basis of Claim if they cannot pay a counsel. People with limited or no financial resources may be eligible for legal assistance through publicly funded programs. Information on how to register for legal assistance and what documents are required can be found on their website.
http://www.legalaid.on.ca/en/getting/type_immigration.asp In addition to general legal assistance, the city of Toronto houses a dedicated refugee claims agency known as the
Legal Aid for Asylum Seekers
http://www.legalaid.on.ca/en/contact/contact.asp?type=refugee Numerous Community Legal Clinics and Student Legal Aid Societies offer free or low-cost legal services to people applying for benefits. The Legal Aid website features a directory of such centers.
In accordance with the Balanced Refugee Reform Act (BRRA), the government has the authority to designate certain countries as “Designated Countries of Origin” (DCO), which implies that these countries do not typically produce refugees and are considered safe by the government. As a result, individuals hailing from these countries will have their refugee claim fast-tracked and will not be granted access to certain rights that are available to individuals from other countries.
In the current Canadian immigration and refugee law, certain refugee claimants can be classified as “Designated Foreign Nationals.” These individuals are categorized as such if the government believes that they cannot be examined in a timely manner, or if they arrived in Canada through human smuggling. Designated foreign nationals who are 16 years old or older are automatically detained until the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) has made a positive decision on their refugee claim.
Persecution is a term that lacks a universally accepted definition. Nonetheless, it usually involves incidents of serious harm, such as repeated or patterned discrimination or harassment. Even if serious harm is a one-time occurrence without a pattern, it may still be classified as persecution if it is anticipated to recur in the future.
The Basis of Claim Form (BOC) is a comprehensive document that includes questions regarding your background, education, work, and travel history. It provides an opportunity to tell your story, describe why you require protection, explain the efforts you’ve made to seek help from your government, and justify why you cannot go elsewhere in your country. The BOC has replaced the Personal Information Form (PIF) that was employed in the previous refugee system.
The Safe Third Country Agreement is a pact between Canada and the United States. This agreement mandates that refugee claimants must request asylum in the first safe country they reach. Consequently, if you are arriving from the United States at the Canada-US land border, you must first apply for refugee status in the United States unless you qualify for an exception to the agreement.
Under the Convention Refugee definition, you must demonstrate a “well-founded fear” of persecution. This implies that the fear must be personal to you, and you must provide evidence, such as documents, reports, newspaper articles, etc., to demonstrate that you have a valid reason for that fear.