Temporary Public Policy to exempt prospective refugee claimants, in Canada, from the requirement to make a claim to an officer, in person
On March 17, 2020, given concerns about the spread of COVID-19, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) inland offices scaled down their services to the public, to minimize the risks to employees and clients, in line with direction regarding social distancing from Canadian public health authorities.
This effectively means that foreign nationals in Canada would be unable to make a refugee (asylum) claim “to an officer” in person, as required by subsection 99(3) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).
An alternative service delivery model has been put in place to continue to allow refugee claims to be made in Canada during this time, without the need for the claimant to make the claim “to an officer” in person.
Public Policy Considerations
One of the requirements of subsection 99(3) of the IRPA is that a foreign national in Canada seeking asylum do so by making a claim for refugee protection to an officer.
This Temporary Public Policy to exempt foreign nationals who are in Canada from the requirement to make a claim to an officer in person recognizes the importance of minimizing the risks to employees and clients, and will ensure that Canada is able to continue receiving refugee claims.
As such, I hereby establish that, pursuant to my authority under section 25.2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, there are public policy considerations that justify the granting of an exemption from the requirement of subsection 99(3) of the IRPA that asylum seekers in Canada make a refugee claim to an officer, in person, to those foreign nationals who comply with all below-described conditions.
Conditions (Eligibility Criteria)
Based on public policy considerations, officers may grant an exemption, from the obligation of the Act described below, to foreign nationals (prospective refugee claimants) who meet the following criteria:
- The claim for refugee protection must be made as required by subsection 99(1) of the IRPA
- The claim must be made by sending an email and providing the information specified by the Department; or
- As of March 17, 2020 and during the time period this method to submit a claim was made available by IRCC, the claim was submitted with the required application forms to the Department in a specified drop box at refugee intake offices.
- The foreign national must comply with all the applicable requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and Regulations including those of subsection 99(3) of IRPA that the foreign national must be inside Canada and must not be subject to a removal order.
Obligation of the Act for which an exemption may be granted
- The requirement contained in subsection 99(3) of the IRPA that the claim for refugee protection be made to an officer.
Start Date and End Date
This public policy applies to claims for asylum made in Canada as of March 17, 2020 and will apply until it is revoked by the Minister.
The Honourable Marco Mendicino
Minister of Immigration and Citizenship
Dated at Ottawa, April 9th, 2020
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