Canada: Understanding the Refugee System
Who is a Refugee?
A refugee is an individual who is under constant fear of persecution. And have been displaced from their homeland. Also, have undergone major trauma due to past or current ongoing life experiences. Besides, there is a very clear difference between a refugee and an immigrant.
An immigrant is an individual who is willingly settling in Canada. Whereas a refugee is an individual who is forced into exile. Thus, Canada realises that it must also contribute to helping people who need protection. So, every year, Canada sets an immigration target for ‘refugees and protected person’. As of 2021, Canada is looking forward to protecting 59,500 people.
Canada’s Refugee System
Canada’s offers the following 2 pathways under which an individual can settle in Canada as a refugee:
- Refugee and Humanitarian Resettlement Program
- For refugees outside Canada.
- In-Canada Asylum Program
- For refugees inside Canada.
Refugee and Humanitarian Settlement Program
Under this program, a refugee who is living in refugee camps for years can get resettlement/refugee sponsorship in Canada. Canada with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and its sponsors help refugees (abroad) to resettle in the country. However, Canada also allows private sponsors to help in this noble cause if they are sponsorship agreement holders.
So, private sponsorship agreement holders can give refugee sponsorship privately or can work with other people to do the same. Other sponsors such as Groups of Five and Community Sponsors can also offer refugee sponsorship. Also, the Blended Visa Office Referred (BVOR) Program connects sponsors with UNHCR identified refugees.
In-Canada Asylum Program
As per this program, one can apply for refugee sponsorship within Canada if they:
- fear persecution, or
- will have to face cruelty if they return to their home country.
Besides, not everyone can make a refugee claim. Because Canada will reject their appeal for reasons such as:
- The applicant has a criminal history, or
- Canada rejected the earlier refugee claim.
To know about how to apply, click here
Help offered to refugees by Canada
Canada offers resettlement services under the Resettlement Assistance Program. This includes help with essential services and income support. So, refugees can settle in Canada. The program offers help until the first 4 to 6 weeks after a refugee enters Canada. The services are:
- Welcome at the airport or other port of entry.
- Helping in looking for a temporary place to live.
- Helping in getting a permanent place to live.
- Identifying the needs of the refugees.
- Helping in knowing and settling in Canada.
- Also, offering other federal and provincial programs and settlement services.
In the case of private sponsorship, the sponsor must provide emotional and income support for:
- the period of sponsorship, or
- until the refugee can support itself.
A sponsor’s support refers to help with food, shelter, and clothing. However, generally, sponsorships last for 1 year but a refugee can get sponsorship for up to 3 years. Whereas, in the case of Blended Visa Office Referred refugees get 6 months of income support. As per this private sponsors must give 6 months of income support and 1 year of social and emotional support.
To know more about how to Sponsor a Refugee click here
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