Who is Eligible for Asylum in Canada?
Canada can protect individuals who fled from their own country as a result of danger. However, only some individuals are eligible for this kind of protection.
The Refugee Protection Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) has the right to accept or reject an individual after examining the individual’s status. If an individual is accepted into the country as a refugee, he or she can apply to become a Canadian citizen. The following sets of people are eligible for asylum in Canada:
1. Persons Who Need Protection
Those who are considered to require protection are people who will be subjected to death, torture, or unusual punishment if they return to their home country. The circumstances surrounding those sets of people include:
- Lack of protection from their government.
- Risks await them in all parts of their home country even when other citizens of their country don’t face risks.
- The risk that awaits them is not part of legal penalties (except if the penalties are against international standards), and the risk didn’t originate from inadequate medical care.
People who belong to this category are eligible for asylum in Canada. They don’t need a spouse visa or any special kind of visa to claim asylum in Canada.
2. Convention Refugee
This set of individuals reside outside their national country and can’t return to their national country or get any protection due to fear of persecution. The fear of persecution must be linked to the following:
- Membership in a social group they choose to join as well as groups that can’t be changed, such as sexual orientation, gender, and past memberships.
The individual must:
- Be referred by a reputable organization such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or get sponsorship from a private sponsorship group.
- Chosen as privately sponsored or government-assisted refugee, or possesses enough funds to support himself or herself.
We recommend that individuals who belong to this category seek Canadian immigration lawyer advice before approaching the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). Also, the individual must show that he or she doesn’t have any safe place to stay in his/her country.
3. Country of Asylum Class
People who belong to this category are in refugee-like situations, but they don’t qualify as Convention Refugees. Immigration officers are responsible for determining those who qualify to be a member of the asylum class and those who don’t qualify. The people who are regarded as a member of the asylum class are those who are personally and seriously affected by the following:
- Armed Conflict
- Civil War
- Massive Violations of Human Rights
Just like convention refugees, individuals who belong to the country of asylum class must:
- Be referred by a reputable referral organization such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or get sponsorship from a private sponsorship group.
- Be chosen as privately sponsored or government-assisted refugee, or possesses enough funds to support himself or herself.
Kindly note that some individuals will be considered ineligible for asylum in Canada even if they meet the conditions above. These individuals include the following:
- Individuals who have been recognized as a refugee by another country to which they can stay.
- Individuals who already have a protected status in Canada.
- Individuals who arrive via the Canada-United States border.
- Individuals who made a previous refugee claim and the IRB rejected the claim.
- Individuals who made a previous claim that isn’t eligible for referral to the IRB.
- Individuals who once withdrew a previous refugee claim.
- Individuals who are subjected to the removal order.
Another important fact to note is that individuals who do not qualify for an exception to the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) can’t claim asylum at the border.
Those who qualify for the STCA exception are the following:
- Individuals who possess a valid work permit, Canadian visa, or a study permit.
- Individuals who are under 18 and neither of their parents live in the United States.
- Individuals facing a death penalty in their country.
- Individuals who have close family members residing in Canada
Those that the STCA recognizes as family members are legal guardian, spouse, father or mother, child ,sister or brother, grandparent, grandchild, aunt, niece, nephew, uncle, and common-law partner. Anyone who is eligible for asylum but is not among the categories of individuals listed above is expected to claim asylum in Canada and not at the border.
The Canadian government takes the safety of its citizens and the citizens of other countries seriously. The evidential signs of this fact can be seen in how Canada determines those eligible for asylum. By now, we believe that you know whether you qualify for asylum in Canada or not.