Refugees and asylum
Apply for refugee status from within Canada, learn how to become a refugee in Canada, sponsor a refugee, and locate refugee services in the country.
Border crossings that aren’t legal and asylum seekers in Canada. We are trying to maintain the integrity of our border and the security of our country while also offering safe haven for those in need. We implement our tough policies and procedures to each instance when asylum seekers come to Canada and beg for refuge.
What you need to know if you’re an asylum seeker
The Safe Third Country Agreement is still in force. The STCA has not been repealed. Individuals who enter Canada through a land port of entry are still ineligible to file a refugee claim and will be deported to the United States unless they fit one of the STCA’s relevant exclusions.
Asylum seeking is not a way to circumvent normal immigration rules and procedures. If there are valid reasons for seeking refuge, it will not be granted.
Canada honours its international duties to individuals who are in actual need of assistance and protection. However, we must ensure that all rules are obeyed in order to preserve Canadians’ safety, security, and health.
Asylum seekers must go through a lengthy process to assess whether or not they have a valid claim under Canadian and international law. The legitimacy of your claim will be determined by our rules-based system.
If you don’t have a valid claim, you’ll be deported from Canada.
What happens if you apply for asylum in Canada?
Every person having aim to enter Canada is required under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to undergo an examination at a port of entry to determine whether they have a right to enter or may become approved to enter and reside in Canada.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) play critical roles in safeguarding Canada’s border, discouraging and intercepting illegal entry, and ensuring the safety of Canadians. Individuals who enter Canada illegally are intercepted by the CBSA, the RCMP, and their domestic and foreign allies. Border security between ports of entry is the responsibility of the RCMP, whereas border security at ports of entry and inland is the responsibility of the CBSA.
Making an application for asylum in Canada
Individuals can apply for asylum in Canada at a port of entry or at an Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) office. Officials from the CBSA or the IRCC will determine whether or not a person is eligible to file a claim. Whether a person has committed a major crime, had a previous claim in Canada, or received protection in another nation are all factors that go into assessing whether they are eligible to make a refugee claim.
Asylum seekers are not the same as refugees who have been relocated. In Canada, asylum seekers file a refugee claim at a port of entry or an in-land office (CBSA or IRCC). International treaties, which Canada has agreed to preserve, control some of these claims. Refugees who have settled in Canada, on the other hand, are scrutinized and subjected to security and medical examinations before being granted a visa to enter the country. They become permanent residents of Canada after they arrive. Asylum seekers and refugees who have been relocated in Canada arrive through different immigration streams, individuals who cross the border irregularly and claim asylum in Canada are not queue jumpers and are not taking the place of refugees who have been resettled in Canada.
All refugee claimants are subjected to medical and security screening, which includes biographic and biometric examinations as well as the start of security and crime investigations.
Border crossings into Canada
Some people enter Canada in a haphazard manner, passing through designated ports of entry. This is potentially harmful and against the law. The Government of Canada continues to encourage people to enter Canada only at approved ports of entry for legal and personal safety concerns.
After crossing the border, people who are apprehended by the RCMP or local law enforcement irregularly are taken to the nearest CBSA port of entry or inland CBSA or IRCC office (whichever is closest), where an immigration officer will conduct an immigration assessment, including determining if detention is necessary. Individuals are subjected to health screenings to treat any immediate health needs, as well as security screenings to ensure that they do not constitute a security threat to Canada and to decide whether they are eligible to apply for refugee status. Biographic and biometric examinations are included in these screenings (for example, fingerprinting). A refugee claim will be filed if necessary. Foreign nationals who are not apprehended by law enforcement frequently travel to the nearest IRCC or CBSA office and file a refugee claim.
If the claim is found to be eligible, it will be sent to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada’s (IRB) Refugee Protection Division for a hearing. In the majority of circumstances, the foreign national will be released on conditional release while awaiting their hearing.
Those whose claims are deemed to be ineligible will be issued a removal order and discharged under the condition that they report for a future removal proceeding. CBSA may offer a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA) to foreign nationals who are ordered to depart Canada.
The PRRA is conducted by IRCC prior to an individual’s deportation from Canada, despite the fact that CBSA initiates the process. A PRRA evaluates the danger that a person might experience if they were to return to their home country.
Awaiting the outcome of a refugee claim
At the IRB, an impartial, quasi-judicial panel, all eligible refugee claimants are given a fair hearing. Each case is resolved on its own merits, taking into account the evidence and arguments provided.
The IRB evaluates whether the claimant fulfils the UN definition of a Convention refugee, which has been adopted into Canadian law, or if he or she is a person in need of protection when making determinations. Convention refugees are those who have a well-founded fear of persecution because of their race, religion, political beliefs, nationality, or membership in a particular social group, according to the United Nations. A person in need of protection, as defined by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, is a Canadian who, if returned to their home country, would face torture, a risk to their life, or a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.
As a refugee claimant, if an individual is determined to be eligible to file a claim in Canada, they may be entitled for social assistance, education, health care, emergency housing, and legal aid while their claim is ongoing. Furthermore, most people who are judged to be qualified for refugee status can apply for a work visa after undergoing a medical check. It makes no difference whether the claim was filed at a border crossing or at an inland office.
Hearings before the IRB are usually held in the province where the individual filed their refugee claim. The refugee claimant receives the services indicated above from that province. If the claimant decides to shift provinces while waiting for their claim to be reviewed by the IRB (for example, claiming refugee status in Quebec and then moving to Ontario), they must notify the IRB, IRCC, and CBSA of their new residence. In addition, the refugee claimant must notify the province from where they are relocating and apply for services in the new province. A decision is usually reached in around four months for the cases that are heard.
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
mandates that all nations designated as safe third countries be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that the conditions that led to their classification remain in place. The United States’ asylum system continues to fulfil international criteria, making the country a safe third country.