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Refugee Claimants


Canada’s humanitarian tradition of offering protection to displaced and persecuted people is known around the world. Each year, Canadians assist refugees and other persecuted people to rebuild their lives in Canada.

Refugees may be sponsored by the federal government or by private groups, or have adequate financial resources to support themselves and their families.

If you think you will need government assistance to resettle in Canada, you should know that assistance is provided to a limited number of people each year as established in our Annual Immigration Plan.

This document explains the application process for refugees seeking resettlement in Canada. It contains all of the necessary information, instructions, and application forms for you to complete and submit. Read the program descriptions, definitions and instructions before you submit your application.

Please note that the term refugee is used throughout this guide and in the application forms to refer to both Convention Refugees Abroad and members of the Country of Asylum and Source Country Classes.

Will I be considered?

Many of our visa offices will only consider applications that have been referred to us by refugee referral organizations such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or that are accompanied by a private sponsorship. For a list of visa offices which process applications accompanied by UNHCR referrals, visit www.cic.gc.ca/ref-protection or contact a visa office.

Do I qualify?

In order to be eligible for resettlement from abroad as a refugee, you must be a member of one of the following classes:

• Convention Refugees Abroad, or

• Humanitarian-Protected Persons Abroad in either the:

· Country of Asylum Class, or

· Source Country Class.

In addition, individuals must demonstrate an ability to re-establish their lives in Canada and pass medical, security and criminality assessments.

Convention Refugees Abroad Class

The word "Convention" refers to the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.

To qualify as a refugee under this class, you must:

1. have a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion, and

• be outside your country of nationality and unable or, by reason of that fear, unwilling to obtain the protection of your country, or

• if you have no country of nationality, be outside your country of former habitual residence (home country) and unable or, by reason of that fear, unwilling to return to that country,


2. have not ceased to be a refugee, and

3. there must be no reasonable prospect within a reasonable period of time, of a durable solution.

The term durable solution means you have:

• voluntarily repatriated to your country of nationality or habitual residence (home country), or
• integrated in the country of first asylum or a neighbouring country,
• accepted an offer of resettlement from a country other than Canada.

You cannot qualify under this class if any of the following occur:

• you voluntarily re-acquire your nationality;

• you voluntarily re-gain the protection of your country of nationality;

• you acquire a new nationality and enjoy the protection of that country;

• you voluntarily re-establish yourself in the country which you left; or

• the reasons for the fear of persecution have ceased to exist.

Members of the Country of Asylum Class

The Country of Asylum Class is Canada's response to the resettlement needs of people in refugee-like situations who do not qualify as Convention refugees. To qualify under this class you must:

1. be outside Canada and outside your country of nationality or habitual residence (home country),


• have received a private sponsorship for yourself and your family members, or

• be able to establish, to our satisfaction, that you have sufficient financial resources to provide for the lodging, care and maintenance, and resettlement in Canada of yourself and your family members, or

2. have been, and continue to be "seriously and personally affected" (refer to Important Words to Know) by civil or armed conflict or a massive violation of human rights in your country of nationality or habitual residence (home country), and

3. there must be no reasonable prospect, within a reasonable period of time, of a durable solution.

Members of the Source Country Class

This class addresses the protection and resettlement needs of people who live in their country of nationality or habitual residence (home country). To qualify under this class:

1. your country of nationality or habitual residence (home country) must be Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Guatemala, Sierra Leone or Sudan (this list of countries is subject to change).

2. you must be living in that country at the time you apply for protection and the country must still be considered a source country by Canada when your application is approved (visa issued), and

3. you must be seriously and personally affected by civil or armed conflict in your country, and

4. you must be, or have been,

• detained or imprisoned in that country, or

• subjected to some other recurring form of punishment (e.g. jail, house arrest, constraints on normal activities) as a direct result of acts which, if committed in Canada, would be considered legitimate expression of free thought or legitimate exercise of civil rights pertaining to dissent or trade union activity, or

5. you must meet the Convention refugee definition with the exception that you are living in your country of nationality or habitual residence (home country), and

6. there must be no reasonable prospect, within a reasonable period of time, of a durable solution.

Selection criteria

Applicants for resettlement to Canada must meet eligibility and admissibility criteria.

You are eligible when you meet the definition of a Convention Refugee Abroad or qualify as a member of the Country of Asylum or Source Country Classes as explained above. We may also assess your ability to adapt to life in Canada.

You are admissible when you pass medical, security and criminality checks.

If you are selected for possible immigration to Canada, you, your spouse or common-law partner, and each of your dependent children will be required to have a medical exam by a doctor chosen by the visa office. The doctor will advise you of the tests required.

Before an immigrant visa is issued, the Canadian government conducts background and security checks for all applicants who wish to immigrate to Canada. This includes checks into any past criminal behaviour.

Background checks are conducted in all countries where an applicant has lived. However, we will not contact organizations or individuals if it may place you or your family in danger.

In addition to deciding if you meet the refugee definitions, we may assess your ability to resettle successfully in Canada. In making this assessment, we will consider, for you and your family members included in your application:

• whether you have relatives or a sponsor in the community where you intend to live in Canada;

• your ability to speak or learn to speak English and/or French;

• your potential for employment based on your education, skills and work experience; and

• your resourcefulness and other similar characteristics that will help you adapt to life in Canada.

Note: If you plan to live in the province of Quebec, you will need to obtain a Certificat de Sélection du Québec. Our officers will provide you with more information about this process.




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