Anaishe is a political activist from Zimbabwe. She recently was arrested and briefly detained by the police due to her open opposition to the government on Facebook. Anaishe fears she could be convicted and held in prison for an extended period. One of Anaishe’s friends suggests she claims refugee status in Canada. Anaishe already holds a valid Study Permit to Canada. She returns to Canada to complete her studies, but she is not quite sure if she qualifies for seeking asylum.
Canada is a relatively welcoming country for refugees. For example, Canada accepted more than 40,000 refugees in 2017 which is about 14% of all the new immigrants to Canada. Refugees come to Canada under two major groups.
- Resettlement: These people are displaced from their country. They usually file refugee with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Canada accepts some of these refugees under its obligations to the United Nations. Resettled refugees enter Canada as permanent residents. The processing of such applications happens outside Canada.
- Local claims: Some people claim refugee status at a Canadian port of entry or while they are inside Canada. The authority that ultimately makes decisions about these people is the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (some exceptions apply).
Two Types of Refugees
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) recognizes the following two types of refugees.
- Convention Refugees – These are people who do not live in their country. They are afraid of going back to their home country because their government may persecute them due to their race, religion, social group, political views or nationality (practitioners see section 96 of IRPA).
- People who need protection – This group are those people who have a fear of going back to their home country because they may face torture, unusual treatment, or even loss of their lives. People who need protection cannot trust their government to protect them against such issues (practitioners see section 97 of IRPA).
Please note that Canada does not tolerate fraudulent activities. Our country is a welcoming country to refugees, but we do not want people who file false claims to undermine the integrity of our immigration system. Any misrepresentation in an application could result to refusal or even prosecution.
Would you please fill out our free assessment form if you wish to visit or move to Canada? We will review it for free, but we will contact you only if we find an opportunity for you. Alternatively, you may book a consultation session. Consultation sessions are not free, but you will receive formal immigration advice from a licensed practitioner.
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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