How to apply for asylum in Canada? Refugees in Canada

If you’re someone who is seeking protection in Canada, then you may need to follow specific steps. The government of Canada has issued various guidelines for asylum seekers. This guide will help you to get information about how to get asylum in Canada.

How to apply for asylum in Canada?

Various things need to be taken into account when someone is applying for asylum. Generally, people who have a fear of prosecution or have a risk to their life can apply for protection. There can be other various reasons as well, which will get discussed later in this guide. The IRB Refugee Security Division controls and regulates asylum or refugee matters. IRB refers to the Immigration and Refugee Board. The IRB is also responsible for granting asylum or refugee status. After getting the asylum application accepted or getting the refugee status entitles you to some other benefits. Those people who got refugee status automatically qualify for the citizenship of Canada. There are different categories of people who can apply for asylum or protection in Canada.

Generally, two types of refugees came to Canada. 

  1. Persons who seek protection
  2. Convention Refugee

Other than these two types, one more category is also there for people who did not fall into these above categories. These people fall into the Country of Asylum Class.

Persons who seek protection

This category is the most basic category for the people who are seeking asylum or are eligible for asylum. People who are having a fear of prosecution or having a risk to their life fall into this category. Some cases of torture and not able to get protection from their government also fall into this category. If the person is having a potential risk in all the parts of the country, then he/she can also apply for asylum in Canada. However, certain things need to take care of these people. They must not violate any international standards and are not having a risk of inadequate health or medical care.

Convention Refugee

Convention Refugees refer to those individuals who are living outside their country. They cannot return to their home country because of having a fear of persecution. This fear of prosecution is based on these things broadly:

  • Religion
  • Caste
  • Nationality, etc.

The persecution may include various things that can take into consideration. This consideration may include death threats, torture, or government detention, guerrillas. Further, this also includes other non-governmental agents, like an abusive spouse. Even a person claiming a refugee must prove that there is no alternative for internal travel. That means there’s no place in their country they can get to and live peacefully. It also includes that they are free form any oppression they face.

Canada allows you to claim for the protection at the time for entry or to be inside Canada. Any person who is feeling that he/she need protection or asylum from the Convention may apply. Several boards regulate the asylum matter for the convention refugees. The IRCC refers to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada. The IRCC rely on the various organization that helps refugees in the convention class. This organization includes UNHCR, any private sponsorship, and other referral agencies. These agencies help IRCC classify and refer refugees in this class for resettlement. After the referral of these agencies, the visa offices analyze referred applicants. They are also responsible for deciding whether the applicants meet the conditions of becoming a refugee.

Country of Asylum Class

This category Country of Asylum Class is for people outside Canada. People who are in the refugee-like conditions fall into this category. Also, people who do not qualify to be the Refugees from the Convention fall under this same category. There are different things onto which any person. There are several points on which an individual may consider a member of the Country of Asylum Class. It is the responsibility of the Immigration Officer to handle this process. This process decides how severely and personally affected by civil war or any violation of human rights.

There are some cases where people cannot find an appropriate solution. In this situation, they can apply for the refugee status in Canada within a reasonable period. Although, the refugees in this class need to get accredited by the UNHCR or any other referral body. This accreditation may also get support from any of the private sponsorship agency. This sponsorship can help these people while reaching Canada with requisite funds. These funds help them in various ways, like supporting their dependents and themselves. There are several other things that you need to know while claiming the Country of Asylum Class. The individuals claiming asylum must prove that there is no other alternative present for the internal fights. This statement specifies that there is no place in the country where they can live peacefully. It also includes that they are free form any oppression they face.

How can you apply for Asylum Protection in Canada?

The essential thing which you need to get asylum is to get the refugee status. If you are eligible for asylum, then only you can claim asylum in Canada. The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRBC) regulates the refugee matters in the country. The board is accountable for handling all the issues related to immigration and deported as well. IRBC also decides whether the person seeking protection is eligible for the asylum or not. IRB carries certain checks to confirm your identity, family details, and other things.

You may also apply for asylum or refugee status at UNHCR. UNHCR is an agency that helps refugees in the country who are part of the United Nations. There may be some different steps you may need to follow while applying for refugee status in UNHCR. You can get more details on the process for application through UNHRC here.

Where can you submit your application?

For submitting your application, you may choose from any of the two following ways:

  • By going to any of the offices.
  • By applying at any port at the time of entry.

The application process for applying by going to the office:

For applying through any of the offices, you may need to fill all the forms of the application package. You may need to go to the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) office. You can apply at the IRCC office to check that your refugee claim has got accepted or not. Then you may subject to appear for an interview with the immigration officers. After all the process, IRBC will check if you’re eligible to claim refugee status or not.

The application process for applying at the time of entry:

For applying from the port at the time of arrival in Canada. You can use this process from any of the means, whether it may be from the seaport, airport, or land border. Once your claim is eligible, you will get a letter of confirmation from the officer present on duty. After getting the referral letter, you need to get it to the Refugee Protection office.

What Happens after submitting an asylum application?

After applying an asylum application in Canada, the IRB decides on your asylum request. In making its decisions, the IRB considers many things. IRB takes into account whether the applicant fits the concept of Convention refugees. The IRB checks whether the applicant meets the UN definition of Convention refugees. The same is adopted in Canadian law as well. There is a definition provided by the UN for the Convention refugees based on several facts. People who are having a well-founded fear of persecution in a specific social group. These groups are ethnicity, faith, political opinion, nationality, or membership.

If an applicant was found eligible to make a claim, they will have access to several things. These things include access to social help, schooling, healthcare, and other essential services. They can also have access to emergency accommodation and legal aid as a refugee claimant. These services are available while a decision is pending on their application. Moreover, most individuals who qualify to apply for a refugee claim may apply for a work permit. They need to undergo a medical examination before applying for the work permit. Also, it hardly matters whether the applicant has claimed border or at an inland office.

Once you submit your application, then you need to wait for the decision of the application. Either you’ll get a positive response stating that you have reached the asylum in Canada. Or a negative response, stating that your claim got rejected. The Refugee Protection Division of Canada handles this process.

Positive Response

After getting a positive response, applicants will get the asylum or protected status in the country. The applicants also get the full range of the federally supported relocation programs. These programs may depend on whichever is available at the time of getting asylum. In most cases having a pre-removal risk assessment has some good benefits. It helps in getting a protected person status or asylum status more quickly than. It allows that people are allowed to remain in Canada. Having the asylum status also entitles them to apply for permanent residents. There are also various supports included, such as:

  • Assessments needs and referrals
  • Details and guidance to help newcomers make informed decisions on settlements, 
  • Language assessment training – To help the newcomers to get mixed up with Canadian society. Training is also introduced so that they can earn their living and contribute to the economy.
  • They are also supported for the finding and getting employment. It also includes referrals to assess foreign credentials and some other services too.
  • They are providing links where immigrants can meet people and integrate more in-depth into their new societies.

Negative Response

If the Refugee Protection Division denied your claim, you could appeal that decision. An individual can question this decision in two ways legally. The first one is by appealing at IRB’s Division of Refugee Appeals. Another option is there, in case if the individual doesn’t have the right to appeal at the Refugee Appeal Division. These individuals can request to the Federal Court to review your final decision.

There are several other things as well, which you may face if your request got rejected. These individuals may not be eligible for social assistance anymore. You can get more information from the respective provinces or areas regarding this. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has mandated to remove all the foreign nationals. Regardless of citizenship, anyone found to be inadmissible to Canada are bound for the removal. These individuals got forced into the removal order.

Every individual has the right to go through the full procedure. However, some circumstances occur where they left with no more options. At this time, the individuals need to leave Canada or get removed by the CBSA forcefully. If you fail to appear for the removal interview, this may lead to the Canada complete arrest warrant. This arrest warrant may potentially lead you to detention before your removal by the CBSA.

Hearing Process!

The final step for the application process will be going for the hearing. The IRBC will be responsible for the hearing process and will send you a notice for the appointment. 

The cover image above was taken in Windsor, Canada. Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash