Can international students file a refugee claim in Canada?

International students mostly enter Canada with valid study permits. Of course, many intend to immigrate to Canada and later submit an immigration application. One immigration option to Canada is through a refugee claim. However, is this option available to international students? In other words, can international students file for a refugee claim in Canada?

Refugee claim by an international student is against their promises.

As part of a study permit application, you convince an officer that you will leave Canada by the end of the period authorized for your stay [practitioners see R216(1)(b)]. Consequently, if you file a refugee claim, you break that promise. Therefore, the immigration authorities issue you a removal order as soon as you submit your claim. They later enforce the removal order if any of the following scenarios happen:

A removal order could jeopardize any future efforts to move to Canada. Thus, file a claim only if there are significant merits to it.

Are you eligible to file?

Ensure to consult a professional to see if you are eligible to file a refugee claim in Canada. Moreover, please read the following articles:

Do international students have unlimited time to file a refugee claim?

The simple answer is no. Generally speaking, RPD and immigration authorities expect a person to file the claim upon their first entry or soon after that. Sometimes a student files a refugee claim several months after living in Canada. However, the authorities perceive that as a result of failing other immigration options. This situation questions the genuineness of the claim. Of course, exceptions exist. For example, the circumstances in the student’s country have recently changed, and they have a real fear of returning home. Sometimes, adverse home country circumstances entitle you to a work permit rather than seeking asylum. Please read my article on this subject:

What happens if the authorities accept the claim?

If the authorities accept the international student’s claim, they become a protected person. Consequently, they may apply for a PR status and a refugee travel document.

A refugee claim as an international student does not entitle you to misrepresentation.

When you are filing a claim, you must remain truthful. Moreover, you may not hide or alter documents and other material facts. Misrepresentation could result in a five-year ban from Canada and even fines and prison time. Read the following articles about the consequences of misrepresentation and potential remedies. Of course, I do not condone misrepresentation in any shape and form.

Let us help!

If you are an international student and intend to file a refugee claim, please consider booking a consultation session with me. Of course, you may fill out the following form in other circumstances. We will review it, and if we find an opportunity for you, we will contact you.

    Do you hold a valid study permit?

    Do you hold a valid work permit?

    How old are you? (required)

    Have you taken an English or French test?

    How knowledgeable are you in English or French languages (pick the language that you are more fluent)

    What is the highest level of studies you have completed outside Canada?

    Which level of studies have you completed inside Canada?

    Do you have accompanying family members (spouse, common-law partner, or dependant children)?

    Are you facing inadmissibility problems or a removal order?

    What do you expect to achieve?

    Additional information (optional but helpful)

    Please share more information to help us better assess you:

    Are you currently inside Canada?

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    Al Parsai, LLM, MA, DTM, RCIC
    Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
    Adjunct Professor – Queen’s University – Faculty of Law
    Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
    Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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    This article provides information of a general nature only. Considering the fluid nature of the immigration world, it may no longer be current. Of course, the item does not give legal advice. Therefore, do not rely on it as legal advice or immigration advice. Consequently, no one could hold us accountable for the content of these articles. Of course, if you have specific legal questions, you must consult a lawyer. Alternatively, if you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment.

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    Al Parsai

    Al Parsai is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (class L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) in Toronto, Canada. He is an adjunct professor at Queen's University Law School and Ashton College. Al, who holds a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University, is a member of CICC and CAPIC organizations. Al, the CEO of Parsai Immigration Services, has represented thousands of applicants from more than 50 countries to the immigration authorities since January 2011.

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