December 28, 2022

IRCC Changes PRRA Eligibility for Iranian Foreign Nationals

Posted by Athena Portokalidis - Bellissimo Law Group PC

On 19 December 2022, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced changes to eligibility requirements to the pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA) for individuals from Iran [1].  

Usually, individuals are not eligible to apply for a PRRA for at least twelve (12) months following the rejection, abandonment, or withdrawal of their refugee claim or previous PRRA, or if their application for leave and judicial review of those negative decisions was dismissed by the Federal Court [2]. However, IRCC has recognized that “the worsening conditions in Iran could put individuals at risk if they were to return, in which case they may warrant an additional assessment”[3]. Accordingly, individuals who received a negative final decision on their refugee claim, previous PRRA, or the Federal Court between 20 December 2021 and 19 December 2022 will be exempt from the usual twelve-month eligibility bar [4]. 

Notably, IRCC is not extending this exemption to individuals who receive the above negative decisions beyond 19 December 2022, as the assumption is that recent changes in the country conditions in Iran “would have been considered when the refugee claim was decided or during the PRRA process” [5].

While a small measure, this recognition by IRCC of the country conditions in Iran is important and provides additional opportunities to individuals in the above-described circumstances to claim protection in Canada. However, with the significant measures implemented by IRCC to assist individuals in Ukraine earlier this year, it is evident IRCC is capable of more, and will remain to be seen what, if any, additional measures will be introduced for Iranians.