Are you or someone you know living in fear of persecution or danger of death in their home country? Are you seeking somewhere safer to live and strive with your family? Canada offers those who are experiencing danger in their home countries a safe place to live and contribute to society. Canada’s refugee program is open to anyone of any background. The Immigration and refugee board of Canada (IRB) will review your application to determine if you are eligible to claim refugee status and whether you are a person in need of protection or a convention refugee.
First of foremost, you must make sure that you are not under a removal order. You can receive removal orders by overstaying your stay in Canada whether you are in Canada under a TRP or a TRV. Once you are sure that a removal order is not issued against you, you can start the process of applying for refugee status. Once you have applied, the IRB will decide whether you are a convention refugee or a person in need of protection.
Convention refugees are people who live outside their home country. They are not able to return because of an urgent fear of persecution due to:
• political opinion
• membership in a social group
A person in need of protection is a person in Canada who cannot return to country of origin safely. If these individuals return, they would be subject to:
• danger of torture
• threat to their life
• risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment
If you do not meet the requirements of a refugee, the IRB may also refuse your application. Your refugee claim may not be eligible if you:
• have been recognized as a Convention refugee by another country that you can go back to
• have already been granted protected person status in Canada
• arrived through the Canada-United States border
• are not admissible to Canada for security reasons, or because of criminal history or human rights violations
• made a previous refugee claim that was not found eligible
• made a previous refugee claim that was rejected
• abandoned or withdrew a previous refugee application
Canada has an agreement with the United States that people who want to make a refugee claim must do that in the first safe country they arrive in.
This means that if you enter Canada at a land border from the United States, you cannot make a refugee claim in Canada. In some cases, this rule does not apply (for example, if you have family members in Canada).
There are two places where you can submit your application and documents in order to forward your claim to the IRB.
Apply at a port of entry
You can apply for refugee status at any port of entry. This includes airport, seaport or land border. The officer you make your refugee claim to will decide if your claim is eligible to be referred to the IRB. If your claim is eligible you will:
• be given a date for your IRB hearing
• have 15 days to complete all forms in the application package and submit them to the IRB
Apply at an IRCC office
You can make a refugee claim in Canada at certain Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) offices. If you apply at an IRCC office, you:
• must have all forms in the application package completed with you
• will not be scheduled for an interview with an immigration officer until you prove in person that you have completed all the forms
• If the officer decides that your refugee claim is eligible, you will be given a date for your IRB hearing
After you have determined your eligibility and applied for a refugee claim, you will have to go to a hearing at the IRB.
The officer will tell you the date and time for your hearing and will give you a Notice to Appear for the Hearing.
This notice will let you know:
• where to go for the hearing
• the time you must be there
• the time your hearing will start
• You must take all your identity documents with you to your hearing
This includes your:
• driver’s licence
• any other documents which may prove your identity or support your refugee application
After your Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada Hearing:
If the IRB accepts your claim, you will get “protected person” status. This means you can stay in Canada and you can apply to become a permanent resident of Canada.
If the IRB rejects your claim, you must to leave Canada. If the law allows, you may ask for the decision to be appealed.
There are countries that are well known to be tolerant and safe countries to live in, but many people from these places still try to claim refugee status in Canada.
Designated Countries of Origin include countries that do not normally produce refugees and respect human rights and are known to offer state protection.
The Designated Countries of Origin policy is meant to deter exploitation of the refugee asylum by people who come from countries which are considered safe. Refugee claimants from Designated Countries of Origin will have their claims processed quicker.
This will make sure that people in need get protection fast, while those with baseless claims are sent home quickly.
We know becoming a refugee is a long and hard process, but we hope that this article has helped you start your first step into obtaining eligibility. At Akrami & Associates, we have dealt with many cases involving circumstances of delayed applications, and clients needing help to provide the legal documentation and paperwork needed to be provided asylum to be able to live in Canada. In all circumstances, we are able to help you achieve your goals. Please feel free to contact us at Akrami & Associates at our office number: (416) 477-2545, if you have further question and concerns, or if you would like to book a consultation with an immigration professional for further advice and help.
With Akrami & Associates, there is always a way!