Much of the media attention towards Bill C-31 – the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act – has been focused on its shortening of the time periods for processing refugee claims and its removal of some appeal rights for refugee claimants that were supposed to be introduced under the Balanced Refugee Reform Act. This past week, members of the immigration bar raised concerns about another questionable change. In short, Bill C-31 will make it so that refugees who became permanent residents of Canada will lose their permanent residence status if their refugee status ceases.
Currently, the Immigration and Refugee Board may cease a person’s refugee status. Amongst other reasons, it may do so if the reasons for which the person sought refugee protection have ceased to exist, or if the person reavails himself to the protection of his country of origin. Until now, the cessation of refugee status did not result in the loss of permanent resident status. Accordingly, ceasing a refugee’s refugee status was rarely pursued where the refugee had become a permanent resident.
Bill C-31, however, changes this. It provides that when the IRB ceases a refugee’s refugee status, then the former refugee also loses his/her permanent resident status. Bill C-31 also provides that such an individual would be inadmissible toCanada. Through omission it also provides that there will be no appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division, meaning that humanitarian & compassionate grounds (such as hardship and establishment inCanada) cannot be considered in deciding whether to revoke the person’s permanent resident status.
This will apply to refugees who made their claims in Canadaand to those who were resettled to Canadafrom refugee camps from abroad. It would apply to refugees who recently obtained status, and to refugees who became permanent residents many,Read more ›