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The Canadian Refugee Program; Looking to Welcome the Largest Number of Refugees Yearly

While there are many legal ways for immigration, we won’t leave you alone if the Canadian refugee program is your option. Here in Canadaya, we will provide you with the latest Canadian rules and conditions about immigration as a refugee.
Compared to many countries, Canada’s refugees will be an ideal choice. Overall, there was a decrease in the number of refugee claims made by irregular border crossers in Canada from Q3 2017 to the end of 2021, with the number dropping from over 8,500 to below 400. However, since then, there has been a rise in these requests, and they surpassed 8,000 in December 2022.

 To sum-up, Canada welcomes refugees with open arms. But, do you know how the refugee system works in Canada?

Asylum seeker lining up to enter Canada, hoping to use canadian refugee program
Asylum seeker lining up to enter Canada

How does the Canadian refugee program work?

Those forced to flee and leave their countries and settle in another country are refugees. Canada offers protection to these people who are in danger of torture, the risk to their life, and the risk of cruel and unusual punishment.  

Can you make a refugee claim?

Note that you must be in Canada, and you can’t be subject to a removal order to make a refugee claim. If you are outside Canada, you must be referred by a private sponsorship group or the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). You need to be in one of the two following classes to be inferred:

Convention refugee abroad class 

Those people outside their country and cannot return to their country for fear of persecution because of their race, political opinion, nationality, religion, orientation, and membership in particular groups are among convention refugee abroad class.

Refugees in this class of the Canadian refugee program shall be sponsored by the government assistant refugees program, private sponsorship of refugees program, and Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) program. 

Countries of asylum class

Those outside their home country have been affected by civil war or armed conflict, or their fundamental human rights have been denied they are among the asylum class. These classes shall be sponsored privately. Moreover, if they are not afforded to support themselves and their family, they can also be in this class and need to be supported by UNHCR or private sponsorship. 

Additionally, Private sponsors provide financial and emotional support for any asylum seekers they sponsor during the sponsorship period or until they can support themselves. Moreover, their assistance in the Canadian refugee program is housing, clothing, and food. Although the sponsorship lasts for one year, some may need more help and even up to three years. 

How to apply through the Canadian refugee program?

Making a refugee claim in Canada is not a complex process. Individuals can make an online claim or at the port of entry. You must be eligible to be referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board, and this is CBSA or IRCC officials that determine the refugees’ eligibility. Your eligibility shall be determined based on the factors, such as having committed a serious crime, making a previous claim in Canada, or receiving protection in another country. 

Fill out the application package through the Convention refugee abroad class or Country of asylum class. Note that security, criminal checking, and medical exam are needed in this phase. 

Before making a refugee claim, check to see whether you are eligible or not.

Who is not eligible for the Canadian refugee program?

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada decide if you can be referred to Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). Being a convention refugee or a person in need of protection shall be determined by IRB. 

So, you are not eligible for the Canadian refugee program if: 

  • You are a citizen of another country that protects you, 
  • You have offered for resettling in another country, 
  • The reason you left your home country no longer exists. 
  • If you choose to return to your country
  • If you withdraw a previous refugee claim
  • IRB rejected your prior refugee claim
  • Your previous refugee claim was not found eligible
  • You have committed a criminal activity or human rights violations
  • Entered from the Canada-United States border (safe third country agreement remains)

Read more about Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement

Convention refugees are individuals who are outside their home country or their usual country of residence.

  • They are unable to return due to a well-founded fear of persecution.
  • Persecution is based on various factors, including:
    • Race
    • Religion
    • Political opinion
    • Nationality
    • Being part of a social group, such as women or people of a particular sexual orientation.

A person in need of protection is an individual in Canada who is unable to safely return to their home country due to the following potential risks they may face:

  • Danger of torture
  • Risk to their life
  • Risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment

What happens if you make your claim at the port of entry?

There will be four possible results in the Canadian refugee program:

  • The border services officer will approve your eligibility, and you must complete your medical exam
  • You will be invited to an interview
  • You will be asked to complete your claim online
  • The officer will tell you that you are not eligible 

Remarks: don’t forget to bring your passport and other identification documents. 

During your appointment, your application will be reviewed, your biometrics and any required documents shall be collected. Your interview shall be done to see if you are eligible, and you shall be given the needed documents for the next steps. If they decide that your refugee claim is eligible during the interview, the IRB will send you a notice, and you must go to your hearing.

After your refugee hearing, if the IRB approves your refugee claim, you will get a protected person status. It means that you can stay in Canada and apply for obtaining permanent residency. But if they reject your claim, you’ll be issued a removal order, and you have to leave Canada, or you may have other options. You can work or study while waiting for a refugee claim decision. 

Processing at port of entry, part of the canadian refugee program
Processing at port of entry

Who can apply for the work permit?

You and your family may qualify for open work permits while making a refugee claim in Canada if:

  • You need a job to cover essential expenses.
  • The family members you’re requesting permits for are with you in Canada and also applying for refugee status.

To apply:

  1. If you haven’t submitted your claim, indicate your work permit request in your online application.

    • No separate application or fees are required.
    • A work permit will be issued after your medical exam if your claim is eligible or referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board.
  2. If you’ve already submitted your claim without a work permit request, apply separately.

    • Include a copy of your Refugee Protection Claimant Document.
    • Provide proof of completing the immigration medical exam and the need for employment to cover basic needs.
    • Confirm the presence of family members in Canada.

No fees apply while awaiting a refugee claim decision. Update your address online to avoid delays.

Who can apply for a study permit?

While you are waiting to decide on your refugee claim, you and your family member can apply for study permits. Note that there is no need for a study permit for children who want to go to kindergarten, elementary or secondary school. 

Extend your work or study permit (merge with upper part)

While you wait for a decision, you can extend your study or work permit before it expires to have the right to keep your study or work. If your work or study permit expires, you need to submit a new application, stop studying or working, and wait for a decision. 

Our last words on the Canadian Refugee Program

In this part, we discussed the Canadian refugee program. Thank you for your attention, dear applicants. Let us know how we can improve your immigration. We hope that our information has been interesting enough for you. 

If you want to check other immigration plans, you can read our articles on Agri-food PilotRural and Northern Immigration PilotFamily SponsorshipSelf-Employed Persons ProgramAtlantic Immigration Plan, and last but not least, Express Entry.

Get in touch with us if you want to know more about the Canadian refugee program. We are happy to help, and we look forward to seeing your comments. You can also read more about Canada’s politicshistoryeconomicsgeography, and Socio-cultural aspects.

Last Update: 2023-06-15


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