CANADA’S REFUGEE PROGRAM
Canada signed the Geneva Convention and accepts refugees. A refugee is a person who is persecuted on racial, ethnic, religious, civil, social or political grounds (membership of certain organizations) located outside the country of permanent residence and cannot return due to certain circumstances, and take advantage of its protection. If an individual cannot return to his/her home country due to well-founded fear of persecution, he/she can apply for permanent resident status in Canada on humanitarian grounds. If the applicant is eligible for the refugee status, he/she should appeal to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and inform about the intention to make a refugee claim. The applicant will receive several questionnaires that must be filled in. Applicant’s destiny depends on the answers given to questions of the questionnaire. Then the applicant will be called for a one-hour interview with an immigration officer, who will decide if the applicant is eligible to make a refugee claim in Canada. Approximately one month after the preliminary interview, the applicant shall prepare and submit to the immigration authorities his/her personal information form (PIF) and all possible documents and materials confirming the applicant’s testimony. Few months after PIF submission, the applicant is invited to the hearing. The main purpose of hearings is to determine the compliance of circumstances described by the applicant in the application for refugee status with the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (according to the 1951 Convention.), as well as their conformity with reality. In case of successful hearing, the applicant recognized as a refugee, can immediately apply to be granted the status of a permanent resident of Canada. At this stage, compliance with medical requirements and a security check (on absence of criminal record and ties to the intelligence services) of the refugee is performed. If successful, the refugees and his/her family members are issued Canadian immigration visas. The Refugee Status has few categories: Convention Refugees are those who persecuted based on race, religion, political opinion, nationality, or a membership of a particular social group. Person in need of protection Applicants of all categories in the territory of Canada may apply for “Risk of return” program, except of: Individuals who have been recognized as refugees in Canada; Individuals who have been recognized as refugees in the third country; Individuals re-apply for refugee status in less than 6 months after the withdrawal of a refugee claim, a rejection of a refugee claim or refusal at the hearing; Individuals whose refugee claims have been rejected under “Refugee program” after living in a third “safe” country. According to the Safe Third Country Agreement, signed between the USA and Canada, the applicant may not apply for “Refugee program ” in Canada if he/she was has been found inadmissible under the same program in the U.S. Exceptions are made for people married to Canadian citizen.