Threats to Convention Refugee and Permanent Resident Status


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Recorded on July 4, 2013 - The unqualified right of Convention Refugees to remain in Canada has been eroded by recent changes to the law. This webinar examines cessation and vacation proceedings where the Minister of Immigration applies to remove a person's Protected Person status. It highlights the significance of the changes to the law and the importance of Convention Refugees and Permanent Residents applying for citizenship as soon as possible. Situations that could trigger cessation or vacation proceedings, as well as ways that service providers can offer support during the citizenship process, will also be covered.
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Threats to Convention Refugee and Permanent Resident Status

  1. 1. Downtown Legal Services PovertylawclinicassociatedwiththeUniversityofTorontoFaculty ofLaw Areas: criminal law, family law, refugee law, tenant housing and university affairs Intake Line: 416-978-6447
  2. 2. "ThreatstoConventionRefugeeandPermanent Residentstatusunderthenewsystem:whatyou needtoknowto protectyourstatus" Take Home Message: Permanent Residents Who Are Convention Refugees Should Apply For Citizenship Now!
  3. 3. Agenda • This webinar will cover the following topics with an emphasis on the impact of recent legislative changes: • 1) Introductory definitions • 2) Applications for Vacation of status • 3) Applications for Cessation of status • 4) Barriers to citizenship and resources • If you have questions, please send them in via the chat feature and I will pause at several points during the presentation to respond.
  4. 4. Stages of Status 1. Protected Person/Convention Refugee • A person who makes an application and is found to meet the definition of a Convention refugee becomes a Convention Refugee/protected person • Protected persons are afforded some protection under the principle of non- refoulement and are eligible to apply for permanent resident status 2. Permanent Resident • Permanent residents are granted the right to live and work permanently in Canada, with some exceptions. • They receive more rights than a visitor or protected person but less than a Canadian Citizen 3. Citizen • A Permanent Resident may become a Canadian Citizen if they meet certain criteria • Being accepted for citizenship affords a full range of rights and privileges
  5. 5. From Refugee to Permanent Resident • Overseas Convention refugees arrive in Canada with Permanent Resident Status • Claimants applying from inside Canada who are accepted as Convention refugees must apply for PR status • Permanent resident status allows a refugee to live and work in Canada – however PR status can be lost for reasons that include: • Failure to meet residency obligations (must be in Canada for 2 of the last 5 years) • False documentation or information given in applications (by yourself or by your sponsor) • Failure to meet conditions of permanent resident status • Conviction for a serious offence (inside or outside of Canada) • Security allegations
  6. 6. Vacation – (IRPA s. 109) • Vacation may be sought by the IRB when there is a finding that CR status was obtained as a result of directly or indirectly misrepresenting or withholding material facts. Post Bill C-31, now Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act (PCISA) • No access to the Refugee Appeal Division • No access to Humanitarian and Compassionate application for 1 – 3 years.
  7. 7. Common grounds for Vacation • Minister may decide to initiate a vacation application if facts come to light that: (a) Individual was not in country at time of alleged persecution (b) Inconsistent information is used in subsequent applications, such as spousal sponsorship (c) False documentation was used • Further information on cessation and vacation applications can be found on the IRB’s website http://www.irb-
  8. 8. Questions or Comments? Catherine Thomas Kristin Marshall
  9. 9. Cessation – IRPA s. 108 • The Minister may apply to “cessate” a refugee’s protected status because: • A) the person has voluntarily re-availed themself of the protection of their country of nationality • Ex: Renewing passport. • • B) the person has re-acquired their nationality • C)the person has acquired a new nationality • Ex: through marriage • D) the person has voluntarily become re-established in the country they fled • E) the reasons for which the person sought refugee protection have ceased to exist.
  10. 10. Cessation – Legal procedure • The Minister may apply under s.108 to intervene to raise the issue of cessation in either of two ways: • 1) At the refugee hearing before the IRB (rare) • 2) At any point between the time protected person status is granted and citizenship is granted.
  11. 11. Changes to Cessation under new law, PCISA Significant changes include: a) Applies to PR b) No access to the RAD c) No H&C for 1-3 years d) No PRRA for 1-3 years e) Retroactive
  12. 12. Hypothetical Scenarios •Audience participation is encouraged!!!
  13. 13. Hypothetical # 1 • 1) Manuel came to Canada and made a successful refugee claim. He applied for and was granted PR status. His mother still lives in Colombia, and she has become very sick, so he wants to go home to care for her. • Is he putting his PR status at risk? • Does it matter if he made his claim in 2010 or in 1998? • Any other factors that he should consider?
  14. 14. Hypothetical # 2 • Recall Manuel from Colombia. What if the basis of his claim was that he feared persecution by the FARC, but recently, there is a lot of evidence that shows that the FARC has lost significant power and is no longer the same threat to him. Should he be worried about his CR status? Should he worry about his PR status? What are the factors he should consider?
  15. 15. Hypothetical # 3 • 3) Maria is from Mexico and made a successful refugee claim and has applied for PR status. Her daughter is getting married in the Dominican Republic but Maria’s passport is expired. Is it okay for her to renew her old passport so that she can go to the wedding? Is the fact that she is waiting for PR status significant? What if she already had PR status? Anything other considerations?
  16. 16. Take Home Points We can’t stress this enough…. 1) Convention refugees need to apply for permanent resident status as soon as possible! 2) Permanent Residents who are Convention refugees should apply for citizenship as soon as possible! Know the risks. Clients should get legal advice if they are considering travel or passport renewal from country of origin/persecution.
  17. 17. Barriers to Citizenship • Some possible reasons for lower rate of citizenship for refugees: • A) The test • C) Fees {$200/adult ; $100/ child} • D) System Fatigue • E) Lack of awareness
  18. 18. Some Resources • Study Guide “Discover Canada” can be downloaded free of charge from CIC website • English Classes And Language Assessment • • Local library -- ESL Classes, and English conversation classes Community legal clinics • Citizenship Classes • • Local School Board and Public Libraries • Other • The Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture, runs a special ESL program for refugees who are survivors of torture and trauma (
  19. 19. Questions or Comments? Catherine Thomas Kristin Marshall