The hardship individuals who are coming from war-torn countries face, puts them in a position in a horrible position. Their country of origin, in a state of emergency, is obviously not making it priority to provide travel documents to help individuals leave. In some cases, the government is actively preventing individuals from leaving. Ultimately, for one reason or another, individuals are essentially stuck. Individuals who escape will not be allowed to cross other countries boarders easily at all, because they do not have valid travel documents, and could end up with nowhere to go. Fortunately, the United Nations has recognized the need for some individuals to seek protection in another country is a situation which arises sometimes, and it should be their right, as a human, to receive this protection. Therefore, countless countries have implemented procedures to help refugee claimants, and provide asylum from their country of origin. Canada is a country which provides protection to asylum seekers. Though, the process is very extensive and can be very confusing. Therefore, this article will aim to break down the process of making a refugee claim in Canada.
First, you must either make it to a Canadian port of entry, where you will be arrested and detained and brought into custody with the RCMP. This is not the same as being arrested for criminality. One should think of this arrest as the beginning of protection, and it is simply the beginning of the refugee claim process. This is not to take away from the rigorous assessment individuals will face when filing a refugee claim, but it is important to understand you are not being arrested for criminality. It would not make sense for immigration officers to let anyone who has no intention of returning to their country of origin, roam free around the country, as it is likely they would not leave if their refugee claim was denied. If you are already in Canada, you can file an asylum claim at a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) inland office or an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) inland office. CBSA or IRCC officials will then determine if an individual is eligible to land as a refugee.
First, you will be assessed medically, for any flags that you are a security threat, including having a criminal history, and be subject to an interview. Second, you will have to prove that you face persecution, or, your life will be in danger, if you return to you country of origin. This could include facing circumstances in your country of origin such as:
Please note, when you formally seek asylum, a removal order is placed on you, but is not in effect immediately. Whether or not the removal order takes effect, will be determined by whether or not your refugee claim is accepted.
Once you successfully arrive at a port of entry, and receive confirmation from a CBSA or RCMP officer that your claim makes you eligible or refugee status, it is now time to submit an application to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). You will have 15 days to complete all forms and submit the application to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. In your application, on your Basis of Claim (BOC) form, you will need to include information about:
Then, your application will be assessed and you will be given a date to attend an Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada hearing. You must take all your identity documents with you to your hearing. This includes your:
To allow the Canadian government to process more cases and help more asylum seekers, they have developed a list of “designated countries of origin.” These are countries in which an individual is less likely to require protection. As per the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website, “The Designated Countries of Origin policy is meant to deter abuse of the refugee system by people who come from countries generally considered safe. Refugee claimants from Designated Countries of Origin will have their claims processed faster.” This does not necessarily mean your case will not be considered, though, it does mean you will have to hold your claim to a higher standard, to ensure it is not overlooked on the assumption you are not under threat.
First and foremost, you must follow the instructions on your notice to appear, and ensure you attend your hearing, and are there on-time. If you absolutely cannot make it to your hearing, you can request a re-schedule, though, this is not an easy task, and you must have a VERY good reason to do this. You must also give at least three new dates and times when you will be available for your hearing. These three new dates must be no later than ten working days after the hearing date set by the officer.
If your claim for refugee protection is accepted by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB), you will get a formal letter or document that you can use to prove your status. If your claim is not accepted, the removal order which was suspended on you, will take effect, and you must leave the country immediately. Though, if the claim is accepted, the removal order will be void, and you will be permitted to remain in Canada.
Should you have any further questions or feel confused or unclear about how to sponsor a refugee or apply for refugee status, it is important to talk about any questions you may have and discuss your concerns. By talking to immigration professionals about your concerns, this will ease your worries and assist with the application process. Many immigration applications are difficult to pursue on your own and it is highly recommended that you seek out professional and experienced help before attempting to apply. Here, at Akrami & Associates, we work and have experience with many different immigration issues. We have helped our clients sponsor refugees or apply for refugee status in Canada. If you believe that you may be eligible for either, please feel free to contact Akrami & Associates at our office at 416-477-2545 for more information or if you would like to book a consultation with an immigration professional for more advise.
With Akrami & Associates, there is always a way!