Authors: Parminder Singh LL.B (Canada); Sherif Ashamalla LL.B (Canada)
Some people choose improper means to enter Canada to apply for refugee status. However, there are ways people can enter Canada as refugees without entering Canada illegally. A person can apply for a refugee status from a 3rd country outside Canada, only if he is outside his home country and has a sponsorship from Canada.
Recently, Canadian Immigration has enacted strict criminal penalties for human smugglers. However, people who come to Canada without proper documents may only be detained until their identities are verified.
Even when people enter Canada without proper documents, Canada has international obligation under law not to return them without first hearing their case, once they claim a refugee status. The hearing process generally takes a year.
Under Canada’s Refugee abroad class and country of asylum class, an asylum applicant can file a refugee claim without entering Canada, if he/she has an organization or 5 Canadian citizens or permanent residents to sponsor him as a refugee.
Who qualifies under this program
In order to qualify for Canadian PR under refugee class abroad, you must
- have suffered persecution in your home country due to your race, religion, political opinion, or membership in a particular group, such as, being a woman, gay or lesbian, or failing this, be ouside your home country due to civil war or massive human rights violations
- be outside your country
- be outside Canada
- be unable or unwilling to return to your home country due to a well-founded fear of persecution
- or be referred by :
- the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or another referral organization and
- be sponsored by one of the following private sponsorship and/or have the funds needed to support yourself and any dependents after you arrive in Canada:
Sponsorship Agreement Holders
The sponsorship agreement holders are incorporated entities that have signed agreements with Government of Canada to help support refugees.
Groups of five
An adult group of five or more Canadian citizens or permanent residents can sponsor one or more refugees to immigrate to Canada. The group of 5 must be able to support a refugee for one year or in some cases 3 years with respect to their basic financial and emotional needs.
Community sponsors are associations that need not be registered. However, they must have resources to support a refugee for one year or in some cases 3 years with respect to their basic financial and emotional needs.
Joint Assistance Sponsorship Program
Organizations can work with Immigration Canada to support refugees with special needs. In these cases, the organizations are only required to render emotional support and the government takes care of the financial needs.
Sponsors in Quebec
The sponsorship process of Province of Quebec is independent from the Canadian Immigration. The residents of Province of Quebec should contact Quebec’s Ministère de l’Immigration et des Communautés culturelles to sponsor refugees into that province.
It should be noted that if the refugee claim is not accepted, the applicant can appeal to the Federal Court of Canada. The appeal process takes 6-7 months.
Contact Singh & Associates-Lawyers for further assistance.