Refugee and Asylum
Refugee and Asylum
Refugees are people who have fled their countries because of a well-founded fear of persecution. Canada offers refugee protection to those who fear persecution and who are unwilling or unable to return to their home country.
The Canadian refugee system has two programs
- In-Canada Asylum program: for people who make refugee protection claims from within Canada as they are at risk of torture, unusual punishment or have well-founded fear of persecution.
- Outside Canada resettlement program: Refugee and Humanitarian Resettlement Program is for people who need protection from outside Canada. The organization such as The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), along with private sponsors, identifies refugees for resettlement. A person cannot apply directly to Canada for resettlement. After they are identified, it takes time to process the cases.
There is also an option to sponsor a refugee to help them resettle to Canada. They have to sign sponsorship agreement with the Government of Canada. These groups are known as Sponsorship Agreement Holders. Other sponsors, known as Groups of Five and Community Sponsors, are people or groups in the community who have come together to sponsor refugee(s). They do not generally sponsor refugees on an ongoing basis.
You may not be eligible for asylum if:
You have a previous denied refugee claim
You have been convicted of serious criminal offences
Can refugees work or study in Canada while waiting for a decision?
Yes, you do have the option to apply for study permit or open work permit if you are eligible to apply for refugee status. You will need acceptance letter from a DLI (designated learning institution), however children who attend kindergarten, elementary or secondary school – do not need any acceptance letter.
Making claim inside Canada
At the Port of Entry
Inside Canada at the office of IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada)
You will be referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) if Canadian officials determine that you are eligible to make asylum claim.
What is Safe Third Country Agreement?
The Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the United States (U.S.) which requires the refugee to request refugee protection in the first safe country they arrive in, unless they qualify for an exception to the Agreement.
The person coming to Canada from United States of America cannot make a refugee claim at Canadian border unless they qualify for an exception to the Agreement:
You hold valid Canadian visa
You are minor (under 18) without parent
You have a close family member who lives in Canada
You are facing the death penalty in your country or the United States
The Safe Third Country Agreement recognizes the following family members for the purpose of the exception:
Spouse, legal guardian, child, father or mother, sister or brother, grandfather or grandmother, grandchild, uncle or aunt, nephew or niece, common-law partner, and same-sex spouse with a legal status in Canada. If you are not sure if you fall into an STCA exception, you should get some legal advice before coming to the border.