Canada, known for its welcoming and inclusive society, has long been a beacon of hope for individuals fleeing persecution, violence, and conflict in their home countries. With its robust refugee protection system and a commitment to providing sanctuary to those in need, Canada has become an attractive destination for refugees seeking safety and a fresh start. However, the journey to finding refuge in this vast nation is not without its challenges.

Refugee in Canada

Canada’s immigration system is a world leader and provides many opportunities for those who would like to come to Canada

Every year, millions of people from around the world come to Canada to visit, work, or study temporarily. In addition, more than 300,000 people are approved to make Canada their permanent home each year under three broad categories – economic immigration, family reunification, and humanitarian considerations.

That doesn’t mean that Canada offers a free pass to anyone. Whether you’ve got Temporary Protected Status or no status in the United States or are coming from any particular region of the world, there is a strict process in place. You might think that once you’re in, you’re in, but that’s just not the case.

To be able to remain in Canada, there are several important steps you must successfully proceed through in our immigration system. When you enter Canada irregularly outside an official port of entry, you are intercepted and arrested by the police.

You then face a rigorous process to determine whether or not you have a legitimate refugee claim according to Canadian and international law. This includes complete security and background checks. There are no guarantees that you will be able to stay in Canada. If it is determined that you are not in need of Canada’s protection, the process to remove you from Canada is initiated. There are, however, many legitimate ways to come to Canada to visit, study, work, or live.

Understanding the Canadian Refugee Process

The Canadian refugee process serves as a vital roadmap for individuals seeking safety and protection within Canada’s borders. This multifaceted system aims to ensure that those fleeing persecution, violence, or other forms of harm find refuge in a fair and compassionate manner.

The process involves the thorough assessment of asylum claims by the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), an independent administrative tribunal responsible for making decisions on refugee status. The process includes:

  • Initial application.
  • Eligibility assessment.
  • Interviews.
  • Document verification.
  • Medical and security checks.
  • The final determination.

Who Qualifies as a Refugee in Canada, according to the IRCC?

There are two main types of people who can be qualified for refugee claims in Canada, these are:

  • Convention refugee.
  • Person In Need Of Protection.

Convention refugee in Canada

A Convention Refugee is a person who is outside their home country or the country they normally live in and Can’t go back due to fear of persecution of:

  • Race.
  • Religion.
  • Political opinion.
  • Nationality.
  • Being part of a social group, such as women or people of a particular sexual orientation.

Person In Need Of Protection In Canada

As for a Person in need of protection. A person in need of Protection is a person inside Canada who can’t return to their homeland because they fear:

  • Torture.
  • Risk to their life.
  • Risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.

Non-eligibility for Refugee Claim in Canada

The IRCC will decide if your Refugee Claim can be referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada IRB. Your Refugee Claim could not be eligible to be referred to the IRB in case you:

  • Had a previously REJECTED Refugee Claim by the IRB.
  • Had a previous ineligible Refugee claim.
  • Have an existing Refugee Claim in another country.
  • Arrived via the Canada–United States border and were granted a protected person status in Canada.
  • Are inadmissible due to security grounds (Criminal record or Human Rights violation).
  • Are recognized as a Convention refugee by another country that you can return to.

Economic and family immigration programs

Most people who successfully apply for permanent residence are chosen through Canada’s economic immigration programs:

  • Express Entry: The first step for most economic immigrants is to submit a profile under Express Entry. In the profile, the person receives ranking points based on their language ability, education, skills, and experience. Every two weeks, the candidates with the most points are invited to apply for permanent residence.
  • Provincial Nominee Program: Provinces (except Quebec) nominate the immigrants they would like, based on criteria they set that address their own needs.
  • Quebec-Selected Skilled Workers: The Province of Quebec selects its own skilled workers.
  • Start-up Visa Program: Entrepreneurs with business ideas and the support of Canadian investors can become permanent residents and launch their businesses here.
  • Caregiver Program: Individuals who have gained experience working in Canada providing in-home care to children, or people with high medical needs, can apply for permanent residence.

Through the Family Class, Canadian citizens and permanent residents can sponsor loved ones to join them in Canada. This includes spouses and common-law partners, dependent children, parents, and grandparents.

Refugee resettlement

Canada also has a proud humanitarian tradition. This tradition includes resettling refugees from abroad, and an in-Canada asylum system for those with a well-founded fear of persecution, torture, or death. While eligible asylum claimants can live in Canada while they wait for their claim to be decided, a rejected claim means that they are expected to leave Canada – or they will be removed.

Opportunities for living in Canada on a temporary basis

In addition to the opportunities to apply for permanent residence, there are also many avenues to come to Canada on a temporary basis as a tourist, worker, or student.

Canada has one of the most generous programs in the world for international students. Our excellent academic institutions currently host more than 400,000 international students. While studying here, most students can gain work experience and, upon graduation, can continue to work in Canada for up to three years. With experience studying and working in Canada, many students apply to immigrate permanently.

Temporary workers are also welcomed each year through Canada’s work permit programs. Like students, thousands of workers gain the experience they need in Canada to then apply for permanent residence. Opportunities to work temporarily in Canada include:

  • Temporary Foreign Worker Program: Employers who haven’t been able to find Canadians or Canadian permanent residents for the jobs they have available can get permission to hire workers from other countries for nearly any type of job.
  • International Mobility Program: Some people can be hired by employers without needing permission due to the benefits they will bring to Canada. This includes researchers, certain business people and professionals, workers with specialized knowledge being transferred by their employer to Canada and others.
  • International Experience Canada: Young people from countries that Canada has agreements with can apply to come to Canada for a working holiday, an internship, or an experience as a young professional.

Come to Canada – the right way

Immigration has played a major role in Canada’s history and development as a country. With the variety of opportunities that people from abroad have to come to Canada, immigration will continue to be a vital part of the growth of Canadian society and the Canadian economy.

The best way to be welcomed by Canada is to apply through one of our established immigration programs. Attempting to enter Canada irregularly at a location other than a port of entry gives no guarantee that you will be able to stay in Canada.