I’ve made a Refugee Claim. Now what?

By Omer Khayyam – Immigration Lawyer in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Most people who have heard of Canada’s refugee system are not aware of the steps between making a claim and having a hearing. Their are onerous consequences that come with these steps.

Step 1 – You make a refugee claim in Canada or at port of entry. This requires providing the relevant documentation to IRCC or IRB or CBSA. You may be requested to get a medical examination done and be fingerprinted at this stage.

Step 2 – You are called back for an Eligibility Interview with an IRB immigration officer.

IMPORTANT: If you want to withdraw your refugee claim, you should do so before the eligibility interview. If you do so after, you will not be allowed to make a future refugee claim.

If there are any issues relating to medical inadmissibility or criminal inadmissibility or previous refugee claims that would stop you from making a claim, you find out at this stage.

If found eligible your passport is seized and you receive a number of documents that are very important and shape how you will live in Canada or leave Canada. Usually you are given a folder full of these documents that are explained to you:

  1. Confirmation of Referral – This document confirms your claim has been sent to the RPD (a division of the IRB) for a future hearing. It mentions where the hearing is expected to take place and contact information. The location is default but you or your lawyer can request to change the hearing location by contacting the RPD. It is important to note this if you change addresses.
  2. Refugee Protection Claim Document IMM 1442B – This is a document that looks like a Study permit/Work permit but it has your photo sticked on it. It states you have made a claim that is referred to the RPD and you can use this document to get health care via Federal government coverage.
  3. Medical Report Client Biodata and Summary IMM 1017E – This document is to be taken to a Panel Physician for a medical examination. This is important to do as soon as possible.
  4. Biometrics number sticker – This is just a small sticker that mentions your biometrics number and barcode for your fingerprinting and photo.
  5. Interpreter’s Declaration – This is just a document you sign that indicates the discussions between the claimant and immigration officer during the interview has been translated properly by
  6. Notice of Seizure IMM 5265 – This document details CIC has seized your passport from you, where it was seized and where it would be returned to. You will sign this when your passport is returned to you in the future (more on that below). Many people don’t realize they lose their passport when they make a refugee claim and feel unprotected without their passport, very likely the only official documentation they possessed. If your claim is successful, you can apply for PR, Citizenship and get a Canadian passport to travel. Or if you can’t wait get a Refugee Travel Document that lets you travel anywhere except the country of your nationality. If you choose to withdraw your claim or if your claim is refused, there is a long procedure to get your passport back, but it involves leaving Canada and confirming you are leaving Canada with CBSA.
  7. Certified copy of Passport – This is an official photocopy of your passport stamped and attested by a CIC official. It may or may not be accepted by airlines when you travel but serves as proof that IRB has possession of your passport.
  8. Acknowledgement of Conditions IMM 1262 – This is a list of conditions you must sign detailing how you will live in Canada until you refugee claim hearing is decided. You must notify CIC of any address change, you cannot work or study illegally, must cooperate with CIC or CBSA, surrender your passport, not be involved in any criminal matters but if you do you must inform CBSA or CIC, if you want to withdraw your claim report to CBSA, and comply with CBSA for any future removal procedures.
  9. Departure Order IMM 5742 – This is a very important document you sign and where people have most of their problems. It is inactive for now but will become active if you withdraw your claim or if your claim is refused. If you withdraw your claim or your refugee claim is refused, you must leave Canada within 30 days and confirm with CBSA you are leaving Canada. If you do so, you can come back to Canada through another immigration program or make another refugee claim. If you do not leave as instructed in the 30 days time or do not confirm with CBSA before leaving Canada, this document becomes a Deportation Order and you are illegally in Canada and after you leave Canada, you must apply for clearance to enter Canada.
  10. A44 Report IMM 5480 – This is an official report that says you are inadmissible because you do not meet requirements for permanent residency. You sign this as well. The A44 report and the Departure Order do not become active until you either withdraw or have your refugee claim.
  11. Checklist of Documents Provided to the Refugee Claimant IMM 5780 – This is just a list you sign saying you have received all these documents.

The most important documents to note are the Notice of Seizure and Departure Order as they shape your presence or removal from Canada and how you can get your passport back.

Step 3 – You now wait until the Hearing for your Refugee Claim. It is best to have a lawyer for such a hearing as case law and research is required for any successful refugee claim.

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