Yesterday, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC“) began retroactively closing existing Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (“PRRA“) applications for which Bill C-31’s 12-month bar applies.
Bill C-31 amended the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act’s (“IRPA“) provisions regarding who was ineligible to apply for a PRRA. IRPA now provides that:
112(2) .. a person may not apply for [a PRRA] if
(b.1) subject to subsection (2.1), less than 12 months have passed since their claim for refugee protection was last rejected — unless it was deemed to be rejected under subsection 109(3) or was rejected on the basis of section E or F of Article 1 of the Refugee Convention — or determined to be withdrawn or abandoned by the Refugee Protection Division or the Refugee Appeal Division;
(c) less than 12 months have passed since their last application for [a PRRA] was rejected or determined to be withdrawn or abandoned by the Refugee Protection Division or the Minister.
CIC will be closing PRRA and subsequent PRRA applications that are currently in its inventory for which a previous Immigration and Refugee Board (“IRB“) or PRRA decision (rejected, abandoned or withdrawn) has been made within the last 12 months (August 15, 2011 to August 14, 2012) and for which a country exemption does not apply.
The countries that are currently exempted from the 12-month PRRA bar are the following: Central African Republic, Egypt, Guinea-Bissau, Libya, Mali, Somalia, Sudan, and Syria.
However, the list of countries that are exempt from the 12-month bar applies only to cases for which an IRB or PRRA decision (rejected, withdrawn or abandoned) was rendered between August 15, 2011 and August 14, 2012. There are no exemptions to the 12-month bar for cases decided by the IRB or a Senior Immigration Officer (“SIO“) from August 15, 2012 onward. This means that for all IRB decisions made on or after August 15, 2012, the 12-month PRRA bar is in effect and they do not benefit from the exemption.
As with any time that the government introduces retroactive bars and closes existing applications, I would expect there to be massive litigation around this decision. This is especially the case here given the literally life and death nature of PRRA applications.