How Refugees State Their Case

How refugees state their case

Canwest News Service
Published: Sunday, May 18, 2008

Refugees coming to Canada have three separate processes to convince government officials they should be allowed to stay in the country, says Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

“Decisions are never made lightly and only after a thorough review. Due process is diligently followed at every step,” wrote Citizenship and Immigration Canada spokesperson Ann Lawler in an e-mail.

The first step for refugee claimants is to appear at an Immigration and Refugee Board hearing. They can also request a pre-removal risk assessment to determine the risk they face if returned to their country. Finally, they can apply to remain in Canada based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

The final appeal is to the Federal Court of Canada, where the refugee can request a judicial review of the Immigration Department's decision.

Lawler cannot comment on specific cases, but she says it can take years for a refugee application to go through all the steps. While a refugee claim is being processed, the claimant can apply for a work permit.

Immigration documents define people at risk as those who can't or won't return to their home country because of a well-founded fear of persecution based on their race, religion, political opinion, nationality or membership in a particular social group.