Canada admits roughly 10,000 refugees every year. It resettles more refugees than any other country, mostly through private sponsorship. Sponsorship allows private organizations like churches and charities to work with refugee attorneys and pay the fees associated with resettling refugees.
Refugees may also make a claim on their own, though it’s always wise to do so with the help of an immigraiton lawyer.
What is Refugee Protection?
Federal law makes it possible for certain individuals who fear for their lives in their home country to appeal to Canada for protection. Those who make such claims successfully are granted permanent residency (PR) in Canada. They may apply for citizenship like any other PR after meeting all the requirements.
Claims are made in one of two places: an official Canadian PoE (port of entry) or from within Canada at the Office of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship (IRCC). Those who are not yet within Canada or at a Canadian POE may apply as a “Convention Refugee Abroad.”
According to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, refugee protections apply to people who have a “well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, or membership in a particular social group or political opinion.”
Refugees must be able to demonstrate the following:
- They have a reason to believe their life is at risk in their home country; or
- They are in danger of being imprisoned, tortured, or being subject to cruel and unusual punishment in their home country; and
- This danger extends from border-to-border in their home country, that is, they couldn’t escape it simply by fleeing to another city; and
- This danger is not a danger faced by every person in their own nation; and
- This danger is not inherent or incidental to lawful sanctions (you are not a criminal) unless these are imposed are “imposed in disregard of accepted international standards”; and
- The risk is not caused by that country’s inability to provide adequate health or medical care.
- You must not be subject to a removal order.
- You must not violate any of Canada’s admissibility standard such as having a criminal record in your home country for any crime that Canada would punish with ten years of prison or more, being responsible for human rights violations, or being a member of a criminal or terrorist organization.
- Refugees must be able to demonstrate they did not arrive via the Canada-United states border.
- They must be able to demonstrate they have not made a refugee claim in any other country.
- They must be able to demonstrate they were not found ineligible for a previous refugee claim.
- They must be able to demonstrate no previous claims were rejected by the IRB.
- They must be able to demonstrate they did not abandon or withdraw a previous refugee claim.
Any person who feels they need this protection and are afraid to return to their home countries may apply for said protection.
It is one thing to make these claims. It is another to prove them. The way that you phrase certain issues, even on your initial application, can make a big difference in how the government reads them and interprets them. Working with an immigration attorney gives you your best chance of making your immigration claim successful.
What is a Humanitarian and Compassionate Application?
There are some potential immigrants who wouldn’t normally be eligible to be PRs but whose cases are worth examining for humanitarian reasons. For example, perhaps they’ve become separated from their children and are trying desperately to get back to them.
In these cases, such refugees may make a humanitarian and compassionate application. This application is not the same as a refugee claim. You cannot make this application if you are in the middle of a refugee claim.
You should consult your immigration attorney when trying to determine whether a refugee claim or a humanitarian and compassionate application might be right for you.
Physical Protection or Persons in Need of Protection
Most refugees will be “Convention” refugees. That is someone who is outside their home country or the country they normally live in who cannot return or is unwilling to return due to a well-founded fear of persecution.
A person in need of protection is someone who can’t return to their home country safely. It is someone who may not necessarily be persecuted due to race, religion, political opinion, nationality, or membership in a social group but who nevertheless risks torture, death, or cruel and unusual punishment if they return.
While there seem to be few differences between the two classes of refugee they can make a big difference in the way your claim is handled and the criteria you must meet to win your claim.
Making a Refugee Claim
Consult with an attorney first and foremost.
Once you’ve consulted wit your attorney, ,starting a claim is easy. Send an email to [email protected] to tell them that you want to start a claim. They will send you a link to create a secure online account where you can begin the application process.
Continue to consult with your attorney throughout the process to give yourself the best chance of winning your refugee claim.
Once the refugee protection protection division receives your claim you will be scheduled for an eligibility interview. Your lawyer can and should be present at this interview, which will take place before the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRBC).
Need Help Making a Refugee Claim?
Our attorneys can help. We have decades of experience helping refugees and their families begin new lives in Canada. You can build a new, safe life here.
We even have attorneys on staff who speak Mandarin and Punjabi if you need help in either of these languages. We are responsive, empathetic, and willing to take the time to educate our clients throughout the process.
Call (403) 237-7777 to get started today. If you are not currently near our offices in Calgary we’ll be happy to set up a video appointment with you.