Immigration through Asylum

Most people who immigrate to Canada do so either through a job offer or through family members already in the country. The Canadian immigration system largely supports the process of having people or organizations in Canada sponsor immigrants into the country.

However, the above pathways are not the only ways to immigrate to Canada.

Immigrants can apply for political asylum in Canada as a way to avoid prosecution and unfair treatment in their countries of origin. The Canadian government is quite proud of the large number of refugees and asylees it accepts into the country every year to protect from persecution abroad. If you have a valid claim, applying for asylum in Canada can be a very good idea.

After receiving asylum status and the accompanying permanent resident status, immigrants should keep in mind that maintaining one’s PR Card is essential when travelling abroad. Immigrants who need to replace their PR Cards should do so as soon as possible.

Asylum vs. Refuge

The difference between what an asylee and a refugee is can be somewhat difficult to understand because the two terms are so closely related and they share a number of connotations, and even definitions sometimes.

Asylees are people who are already in Canada and who are applying for permanent residency because they would be persecuted if they returned to their country of origin.

Refugees are people who are currently outside of Canada (but not necessarily in their country of origin, the country where they are being persecuted) who are applying for Permanent Residency in Canada.

During the application process, there isn’t much difference between the two, but it can be informative to know the difference.

Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act

As a part of Canada’s progressive immigration reforms, on December 15, 2012, the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act was put into place. This act is designed to ensure that refugees who really need to enter Canada are able to come and stay. It also intends to make it more difficult for fraudulent applications to go through the system.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) intends to accomplish this with reformed hearings and a list of countries which will experience extra scrutiny.

People from countries on the Designated Countries of Origin list will still be afforded fair and speedy hearings, but because they are from countries that have a low possibility of genuine refugee applications, they do not have full access to the Immigration and Refugee Board’s (IRB) appeal division.

On May30, 2013, the list of Designated Countries of Origin (DCOs) was expanded. Countries considered to be DCOs are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Demark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Countries are placed on the list of Designated Countries of Origin because they are democratic societies with track records of acceptable human rights organizations. These countries do not typically produce refugees.