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Changes to the refugee claim process

On June 28, 2012, Bill C-31, titled the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act, received royal assent and is now law. The bill makes a number of changes to the Canadian immigration system. While most of the changes won’t come into effect until sometime in the future, a number of changes are already in effect. These changes limit when people can apply for pre-removal risk assessments (PRRAs) or humanitarian and compassionate (H&Cs) consideration. This means that some information in the LSS publication, Your Guide to the Refugee Claims Process, is no longer correct. There are three major changes that should be noted:

  1. After receiving a negative final decision on a refugee claim from the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, there is now a one-year waiting period before claimants can apply for a PRRA.
  2. Previously, claimants could apply to stay in Canada on H&C grounds at any point during the refugee claim process. Now, applications can no longer be submitted while a refugee claim is pending. As well, failed refugee claimants are barred from filing an H&C application for one year, unless there is a risk to life due to inadequate health or medical care, or if removal would have an adverse effect on the best interests of a child.
  3. On an H&C application, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will no longer consider whether a person faces risk if returned to their country (this change occurred as of June 29, 2010).

The incorrect information in the current booklet concerns H&C applications and is primarily in the H&C chapter. A short update for Your Guide to the Refugee Claims Process about the H&C and PRRA changes will be available in the near future.

For more information on these changes, please see the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.

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