Changes to the Refugee (Asylum) system in Canada

On December 14, 2012, CIC announced a new list of countries whose citizens’ claims for refugee status in Canada will be rejected through expedited processing. The idea behind this list is that those countries are known NOT to produce refugees and in a given year, and that CIC wants to make the application system move faster for those cases that have merit.

Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney stated “It is remarkable that the European Union – with its democratic tradition of freedom, respect for human rights, and an independent judiciary – has been the top source region for asylum claims made in Canada. What’s more, virtually all EU claimants either withdraw or abandon their own claims or are rejected by the independent Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.”

Last year, 91% of claims from the EU to the Refugee Board were rejected.

The initial list of designations covers 27 countries, 25 of which are in the European Union:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovak Republic
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America

Additional countries will be designated in the months following the implementation of the new system, which comes into force tomorrow, December 15, 2012.

The goal is to reduce processing wait time for a hearing from 600 days to 60 days for those claimants not on the list. “Canada will continue to have the most fair and generous asylum system in the world,” said Minister Kenney. “We welcome 1 in 10 of the world’s resettled refugees, more than almost any other country in the world, and we are increasing that number by 20 percent.”