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Refugee Protection Division

Overview of Refugee Claims before the Refugee Protection Division

The Refugee Protection Division is a tribunal branch of the Immigration and Refugee Board. The Refugee Protection Division hears matters from individuals claiming protected person status. Claims can be made at an IRCC or CBSA office in Canada or a Port of Entry, such as an airport or border. You may also make a claim from outside of Canada, but such claims are not processed by the Refugee Protection Division, they are processed by IRCC. Claims for refugee status are made under two categories: a convention refugee or a person in need of protection.

The first step is the intake in which the CBSA officer will determine eligibility for a refugee claim, including ensuring you are not inadmissible. A Basic of Claim (BOC) form that details all the information of the claim  is made with the same significance and effect as a statement made under oath (although changes and/or additions to the BOC form can be at a later date, but material changes may lead to adverse inferences). Documents to  establish identity as well as evidence to support the claim will be required. Where that information cannot be produced the claimant will be asked to explain why and what steps were taken to obtain the evidence.

If a claim is made at a port of entry the original BOC form must be provided to the Refugee Protection Division within 15 days from when the claim is made. If the claim is made in-land, the BOC form must be submitted to the officer before whom the claim is made. The officer has 3 days to determine if the claim is eligible for referral to the Refugee Protection Division. Where the officer fails to make a determination within 3 days, the claim is considered eligible. The CBSA officer may suspend the assessment if a report is made alleging inadmissibility concerns on grounds of security, violating human or international rights, serious criminality, organized criminality or the officer is waiting for the Court to make a decision on an offence the claimant has been charged with that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years or more. If the claim is found eligible, the claimant will be allowed to remain in Canada for the duration of the processing of the refugee claim.

Upon claiming protected person status, the claimant must appear for a hearing and has the burden to establish that the claimant is a convention refugee or a person in need of protection (although it is possible that the Minister grants refugee status without a hearing before the Refugee Protection Division).

Convention Refugees

A convention refugee is someone who has proved to the Refugee Protection Division that they are unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin or country of previous residence because they have a well-founded fear of persecution based on:

a) Race

b) Religion

c) Nationality

d) Political opinion

e) Being a member of a specific social group

Person in need of Protection

A person in need of protection is someone who has proved to the Refugee Protection Division that they are unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin or country of previous residence because they would personally be subjected to danger, torture or a risk to their life or a risk of cruel and unusual punishment regardless of where they are in the country. This does not include risk that is a product of the country’s inability to provide adequate health or medical care.

Whether you claim refugee as a convention refugee or a person in need of protection, you must provide the Refugee Protection Board with sufficient evidence and/or be credible in your testimony to prove your claim.

Am I eligible to make a claim?

You cannot make a claim for Refugee status in Canada if you:

a) Have already been granted refugee status in Canada or another country

b) Have been refused previously for refugee protection in Canada

c) Have had a prior claim that was determined to be ineligible, withdrawn or abandoned

d) Have committed crimes including, but not limited to, war crimes, crime against humanity, serious crimes outside the country of refuge or other acts that are contrary to the principles of the United Nations

The Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) is an agreement between Canada and the United States that mandates that those claiming refugee must claim it in the first country that they arrive in before crossing the border and claiming it in the second country. There are exceptions to this rule.

The first is if the person making the claim has a family member who is in Canada and is a citizen, permanent resident, holds a work or study permit or is over the age of 18 and has an active Refugee matter before the Immigration Refugee Board. The second exception is for unaccompanied minors, which include people that are under the age of 18 and are not accompanied by parents or guardian, spouse or common law partner and do not have parents or a guardian in Canada or the United States. The third exception is Document holder exceptions which include people who have valid Canadian visas, study or work permit, travel document issued by Canada or do not require a visa to enter Canada but require one to enter the United States. The last exception is for people who fall under the public interest exception. This category applies to people who have been convicted of a crime that holds the death penalty as a potential sentence. It is important to note that even if you meet any of these exceptions, you must prove that you are eligible for a refugee claim in Canada by meeting all the other requirements.

What happens after the Refugee Protection Division hears my claim?

After the hearing at the Refugee Protection Division, a claimant will be granted status as a protected person if the panel has found that the claimant is a convention refugee or a person in need of protection or be refused and then the conditional removal order will become effective within a designated time period unless an appeal is made to the Refugee Appeal Division and/or other steps under the law. For more information on Removal Orders, click here. If you are granted status as a protected person, you may apply for permanent residency. If your claim has been refused, you may appeal to the Refugee Appeal Division. It is important to note that if the Refugee Protection Division grants refugee status to an individual, the Minister retains the right to file an appeal to the Refugee Appeal Division if they believe the Refugee Protection Division erred in their decision. For more information on the Refugee Appeal Division, click here.

If you have been granted permanent residence status, it is important to note that the Government may make an application to revoke your status as a refugee for any of number of reasons, including travelling back to the country of refuge, obtaining and using a passport from the country of refuge, re-establishing yourself in the country of refuge and/or the reasons for which the person sought refuge have ceased. Your refugee status may also be vacated if you have been found to have misrepresented when you made your claim. For more information on refugee cessation matters, we encourage you to contact a legal professional.

In all, the steps for a refugee claim are as follows

i) File a Refugee claim in Canada

ii) An officer determines if you are eligible to make a claim and a BOC form is filled out

iii) Your claim is referred to the Refugee Protection Division and a hearing is scheduled if you are found to be eligible

iv) An appearance is made before the Refugee Protection Division. A decision is made or held in reserve

v) Protected person status is granted

OR

vi) Refugee claim is refused and a removal order is issued

vii) Claimant leaves country or files an appeal to the Refugee Appeal Division and or other steps under the law, if eligible. To see if your eligible for an appeal to the Refugee Appeal Division, click here.

It is important to note that if you are not eligible to file an appeal to the Refugee Appeal Division, you may file an Application for Leave and Judicial Review to the Federal Court. For more information on the Federal Court, click here.

What to do next?

If you believe you may be a convention refugee or a person in need of protection, have already made a claim for refugee status or have been refused for refugee status, and would like assistance, we encourage you to contact Bellissimo Law Group PC

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Bellissimo Law has been the greatest help we could have asked for our journey. Our case needed an appeal which was very well organized, documented and presented to the authorities. We received a positive decision on the case all because of the expertise of Mr. Bellissimo and team. Keely and John are great at responding all smart and stupid questions and the team is very prompt to answer emails. They have the entire process streamlined, right from extension to evidences which makes our job easier. We got the quotes from some of the other law firms too who are all good and had lower charges. We chose Bellisimo because they are the best and in the long term a few extra bucks won't matter but the results will. Highly recommended.
Vaibhav Chaturvedi
Vaibhav Chaturvedi
16:51 06 May 19
Our immigration process was handled by Bellissimo Law Group. The first consultation with Mr Bellissimo was very insightful. Ms Keely Anderson was particularly very helpful. She guided us through the process. I will definitely recommend this law firm. They know what they are doing. Thanks once again for guiding us through the process.
Dare Sokoya
Dare Sokoya
19:27 28 Mar 19
I greatly recommend Bellissimo Law Group. After a long time waiting, I will finally be reunited with my son here in Canada. We are very grateful for all the great, very professional services that they have done for my case. My personal thanks to Kelly Anderson and her group. More power to all of you!
michele medalla
michele medalla
23:36 04 Mar 19
I wish I’d found Bellissimo Law 9 years ago before taking the advice of a so called Immigration Consultant who led our family to a very costly near disaster in our quest to immigrate to join our family in Canada. Years later, in desperation, at a Procedural Fairness Letter stage internet research seemed to suggest Bellissimo Law may be the company to deal with our problem. From the first consultation with Bellissimo Law their extremely thorough, very focused telephone interview personified professionalism and reassurance. All subsequent dealings with any member of the team were of the same high standard. It was clear to us that Mario Bellissimo leads from the front and that his staff not only respect him but that they are trained to match his standards and caring approach. I believe it is very important to mention that although they seem expensive, when our particular problem resolved more quickly and easily than anticipated they refunded the money which had not yet been used. Thanks particularly to Keely, our lead person, and to all at Bellissimo. I will always, highly recommend Bellissimo Law. Keep up the good work. In less than 6 months all our worries are over. We are now permanent residents.
Patricia Forsythe
Patricia Forsythe
23:33 22 Mar 19
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Atabak Amirabrahimi
Atabak Amirabrahimi
17:19 16 Apr 19
Great service and successfully guided us through the immigration and citizenship processes. Terrific attention to detail, and created a terrific case for our application, which was successfully approved. Attached is a picture with the judge. A wonderful day. So proud to be a Canadian!
Carlos Berber
Carlos Berber
15:45 26 May 19
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Jose Rendon
Jose Rendon
01:01 29 May 19
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Liliana Pelech
Liliana Pelech
14:53 01 Jun 19
I sponsored my parents in 2007 and I was refused in 2013 based on medical inadmissibility of my mentally challenged brother. I found Late Mr. Rotenberg as my original lawyer who passed away during the process. I was very disappointed as I was counting on his expertise to help me with my situation. Mr. Bellissimo was God send for me to help me with my case. I am very thankful that he took on my case. His team member Ms. Tamara Thomas worked with me and advised me with regards to the documents that I needed to obtain, they did extensive research on eligibility criteria of various social and health systems. They worked with me on the interview preparation. The time spend working with them was very targeted and very specific to address the Minister's concerns. They ensured there was no further waste in time or any delays. The way they presented my case and helped me win it only a world class Law firm can do that as there were times I was going to lose my hopes. I would totally recommend this law firm to anyone who is going through similar situation as mine with both hands down. Mr. Bellissimo and the team (Ms. Tamara Thomas) you guys are amazing and thank you so much again for reuniting me with my family in my beautiful dream country Canada.
Irshad Khan
Irshad Khan
17:46 04 Jun 19
They’re very professional and the advice was given 100% accurate. The lawyer Justin Toh didn’t rush at all. He took the time to answer all our questions in details. I’m very happy with their service.
Shah Alam
Shah Alam
21:15 09 Jul 19
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RYAN COWLEY
RYAN COWLEY
17:39 30 Jul 19
Hands down i would never done it by myself if it wasn't for Mr. Mario and Ms. Anderson hard work, I was facing deportation and they helped me step by step to get through it to be honest I am very forgetful person and Ms. Anderson always keep me on track and follow up with me making sure i get things done and send to her and they always keep me updated on everything, I am no longer facing such difficulties and i can stay in Canada. i would recommend Bellissiomo Law Group to all friends and Family. thank you again.
Omid Rezaee
Omid Rezaee
16:00 12 Aug 19
Bellissimo Law has been the greatest help we could have asked for our journey. Our case needed an appeal which was very well organized, documented and presented to the authorities. We received a positive decision on the case all because of the expertise of Mr. Bellissimo and team. Keely and John are great at responding all smart and stupid questions and the team is very prompt to answer emails. They have the entire process streamlined, right from extension to evidences which makes our job easier. We got the quotes from some of the other law firms too who are all good and had lower charges. We chose Bellisimo because they are the best and in the long term a few extra bucks won't matter but the results will. Highly recommended.
Vaibhav Chaturvedi
Vaibhav Chaturvedi
16:51 06 May 19
Bellissimo Law Group did a wonderful job. They helped me and my family obtain work permits in Canada. They were responsive, professional, and got the job done in a timely manner with no issues. I would absolutely work with them in the future.
Eric Blomster
Eric Blomster
11:58 30 Aug 19
Bellissimo Law Firm has great lawyers who have handled our immigration case. The staff was very professional. We are very happy with their service.We had to go through a tough ordeal because of misrepresentation earlier and our file was rejected. That is when we assigned this case to Mario Bellissimo. I would happily refer his law firm to any one whose in the same situation as ours or any immigration related matter.I would like to mention a special thanks to Tamara who was in touch with us and kept as posted. Mario had 100% confidence in our case that we will win which was very assuring for me and my family. And we finally got our permanent residency.God bless him and his firm.
mubina fatima
mubina fatima
18:35 15 Sep 19
Our family could not thank you Bellissimo Law Group enough for all their help on my brother's case. We are very thankful for their professionalism, effort and hard work. We truly appreciate for everything that the team has done for us. Especially Keely, I cannot thank her more for her patience, advice and explanation throughout the whole process. I know that this has been a tough and long battle for all of us and finally it is a dream come true. Words cannot describe how thankful and happy we are. To us, thank you is not enough to express our appreciation, I would call them the lifesaver for our family. Once again, thank you and we wish everyone all a continue success.
April Cheng
April Cheng
07:05 24 Sep 19
Great communication and appointment setup. Mr. Bellissimo was quite frank and candid and spoke openly and candidly. Gave me the right advice to wait till a certain stage to file my case.
Imran Butt
Imran Butt
01:53 01 Oct 19
I really appreciate Bellissimo Law group for helping me out especially in obtaining my postgraduate work permit. I was in an unfortunate situation where there was a chance of my application being rejected but I was able to obtain it in the end. I especially thank Michelle for helping me out throughout this whole process. It was not easy but she was able to respond to my questions and answer them in a very informative and prompt manner. I definitely recommend Bellissimo Law group.
JH C
JH C
20:23 17 Oct 19
I am indebted to Ms. Viola Gniadek, Mr. Mario Bellissimo and the entire team at Bellissimo Law Group for having assisted me with my Spouse’s Open Work Permit & Children’s Study Permits that were denied unfairly and arbitrarily -Twice consecutively - earlier this year. Viola assisted me in putting together my family’s file from scratch, over a period of 2 months. This would be my third attempt, and my first time with the law firm. There were times I had bouts of anxiety given the air of uncertainty and hopelessness but Viola was always there to calm my nerves and was very quick in her email responses. The firm knows what they’re doing and they do it very, very well!Absolutely recommended and I will not hesitate in using their services again in future, should there be a need 🙂
Nabil Valiulla
Nabil Valiulla
21:58 17 Oct 19
Life changing experience. Simply brilliant! Kelly Anderson is very professional and friendly. Our son is special needs kid and with all Bellissimo Law Group support we got our PR only in 8 moths.
Madina N
Madina N
21:56 22 Oct 19