ARCHIVED – ARCHIVED - Operational Bulletin 600 (modified) – January 23, 2015

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

This document has expired. Refer to OB 600-A.

Procedures for applications for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds as a result of lifting the temporary suspension of removals on Haiti and Zimbabwe

Background

A temporary suspension of removals (TSR) halts removals to a country or a place where there is a generalized risk to the entire population, such as war, civil unrest or environmental disaster. As a result, individuals who are unsuccessful in their refugee claim or are inadmissible and who, under normal circumstances, would be subject to removal are allowed to temporarily stay in Canada. As per section 230 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, the Minister of Public Safety has the authority to impose, maintain or lift a TSR. Individuals who are subject to a TSR may choose to return to their country voluntarily. This stay of removal would not apply to individuals who are inadmissible for criminality, serious criminality, security, violating human or international rights, organized crime or to a person referred to in section F of article 1 of the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.

Purpose

On November 26, 2014, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration signed a temporary public policy for nationals of Haiti and Zimbabwe who would be affected by the lifting of the TSR.

On December 1, 2014, the Minister of Public Safety lifted the TSR on Haiti and Zimbabwe.

The purpose of this Operational Bulletin is to provide functional guidance with respect to the processing of applications for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) grounds by nationals of these countries.

Administrative deferral of removal

If nationals of Haiti or Zimbabwe meet the eligibility criteria described below, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will administratively defer removals of affected individuals who submit an application for permanent residence on H&C grounds within six months of the lifting of the TSR. The deferral will continue until a selection decision (stage 1) on the H&C application for permanent residence is made.

However, when an applicant has submitted an application, but it has not yet been created in the Global Case Management System (GCMS), the applicant must be able to demonstrate proof of such application having been submitted (copy of the H&C application and handling public monies receipts) to be entitled for a deferral.

Applicants must meet all of the eligibility criteria below in order to apply under the temporary public policy and benefit from a deferral of their removal pending the H&C selection decision, otherwise the CBSA may take action to effect the removal. Other avenues of recourse, such as a pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA), may still apply.

Eligibility criteria for temporary public policy: applications for permanent residence submitted under H&C grounds

The applicant must

  • be a national of Haiti or Zimbabwe;
  • have been residing in Canada on the day of the TSR lifting (December 1, 2014);
  • be the subject of a removal order (including conditional removal orders) or have benefitted from the Haiti Special Measures (HSM) at the time of the lifting of the TSR;
  • never have been found to be ineligible to have a refugee claim referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB);
  • not be inadmissible on grounds of security, human or international rights violations, criminality, serious criminality or organized criminality;
  • not have been excluded by the IRB from refugee protection under the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees;
  • not have had criminal charges dropped by the Crown to effect a removal order;
  • not have an outstanding criminal warrant;
  • have applied for permanent residence on H&C grounds in Canada no later than six months after the date of the TSR lifting or, for those who have applied for refugee protection on or before the date of the TSR lifting and whose claim is pending, no later than six months from a negative decision by the IRB. This applies even if the IRB decision is made more than six months after the date of the TSR lifting. In this context, a negative decision from the IRB is the IRB's first decision and does not include any avenues of recourse, including judicial review before the Federal Court.

Note: Normally, individuals who have received a negative determination at the IRB within the last 12 months are barred from applying for H&C consideration. However, individuals affected by the lifting of the TSR are exempted from this 12-month bar and can apply for H&C consideration within 6 months of the negative IRB decision.

Applicants who were under the Haiti Special Measures (which expired on November 30, 2014)

Those individuals who were under the HSM when the TSR on Haiti was lifted on December 1, 2014, will also be able to apply for H&C consideration during this timeframe (before June 1, 2015) under the procedures outlined in this OB.

CIC decision-maker

H&C applications will be examined as per existing provisions in the program delivery instructions on H&C consideration. This includes consideration of prolonged stays in Canada contributing to establishment and integration into Canadian society, the best interests of the child, family ties, adverse country conditions, as well as other elements put forth by the applicant.

When a country has been subject to a TSR for a number of years (since 2004 for Haiti and since 2002 for Zimbabwe), an officer may consider that the applicant’s continued presence in Canada may be due to circumstances beyond their control. When the decision-maker concludes that the individual’s prolonged stay in Canada as a result of the TSR has led to their establishment, positive consideration may be warranted.

How to apply for H&C consideration (including applicants in Quebec)

H&C application forms, along with fee receipts, must be sent to the Backlog Reduction Office in Vancouver (BRO-V) as per regular procedures. These applications must be postmarked no later than June 1, 2015. For individuals who filed a refugee claim on or before December 1, 2014, and who do not receive an IRB decision by that date, an application for permanent residence on H&C grounds must be submitted no later than six months from the first negative decision on their refugee claim from the IRB even if the IRB decision is made more than six months after the date of the TSR lifting.

Applications and supporting documents should be mailed to the following address:

Backlog Reduction Office – Vancouver
#600 – 605 Robson Street
Vancouver, BC  V6B 5J3

The envelope should specify the country of origin and be clearly labelled with “Haiti – TSR” or “Zimbabwe – TSR”. Processing fees apply.

Applicants who received a negative decision on an application for permanent residence on H&C grounds before December 1, 2014, may re-apply and, provided they meet the eligibility criteria, may benefit from the administrative deferral of removal. Applicants should include all relevant, up-to-date information in their application in order to be accurately assessed.

Procedures for eligible applicants residing in Quebec

  • Applicants must submit their CIC H&C application forms along with the form Demande d’examen du parcours d’intégration au Québec en vue de l’obtention du certificat de sélection to the BRO-V. They must meet the eligibility criteria for the temporary public policy before CIC can refer their application to the ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion (MIDI).
  • The MIDI will assess applicants based on Quebec establishment factors. The MIDI will notify CIC of its decision on the Avis sur le parcours d’intégration and whether a Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ) is issued or not. If the MIDI issues a CSQ, CIC will examine the application for H&C consideration as per existing provisions in the program delivery instructions on H&C consideration taking into account the assessment by the MIDI. If the MIDI does not issue a CSQ but CIC finds sufficient H&C grounds to grant an exemption, CIC will inform the MIDI of its decision. If the MIDI does not reconsider their CSQ decision, CIC will contact the applicant to determine if they are prepared to reside in a province other than Quebec.
  • If the application is approved (stage 1), CIC will assess admissibility and make a final decision on the application.

When an H&C application is received at the BRO-V

The BRO-V will

  • open the envelopes marked with “Haiti – TSR” or “Zimbabwe – TSR” within one week of receipt;
  • create an application in GCMS;
  • promote the application into GCMS within three weeks of receipt.

If the applicant is eligible, the BRO-V will

If the applicant is not eligible, the BRO-V will

  • add the following note in the IMM screen in GCMS: “Applicant applied for H&C consideration under the OB 600 but does not meet the eligibility criteria for the temporary public policy due to [insert reason]. Processing of application will continue as per regular procedures.”;
  • send a letter to the applicant;
  • process the application as per regular procedures;
  • if the application is approved, request a CSQ.

Coding

The following special program codes must be used for all eligible applicants:

  • Haiti: “MHA” in GCMS and “180” in FOSS
  • Zimbabwe: “MZI” in GCMS and “181” in FOSS

Work permits

The administrative deferral of removals for individuals who meet the eligibility criteria for the temporary public policy means that these removal orders will not be enforced. These individuals may apply for a work permit under paragraph R206(b) through the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville (CPC-V) or online. It should be noted that this work permit will not confer status.

Those individuals who were under the HSM will be eligible to apply for a work permit from within Canada and will be exempted from the requirement to provide a valid Labour Market Impact Assessment from Service Canada in support of their work permit application. This work permit will confer temporary status.

Work permits may be issued before an H&C application is received. Work permits may also be extended if necessary, provided the applicant submits their H&C application within the stated timeframes.

Processing fees apply.

Study permits

The administrative deferral of removals for individuals who meet the eligibility criteria means that these removal orders will not be enforced. Affected individuals are eligible to apply for a study permit under paragraph R215(1)(d) through the CPC-V or online. It should be noted that this study permit will not confer status.

Processing fees apply.

Interim Federal Health Program

Rejected refugee claimants affected by the lifting of the TSR

Rejected refugee claimants who are affected by the lifting of the TSR and who are under an administrative deferral of removal will be eligible for coverage of benefits under the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP). These individuals will be eligible for Type 2 coverage (Basic and Prescription Drug Coverage), under the Rejected Claimant with Deferral of Removal eligibility group, for the duration of their administrative deferral of removal.

Before issuing an IFHP certificate, the officer must first confirm that the individual is a rejected claimant under an administrative deferral of removal. Once confirmed, coverage can be issued in GCMS under the Rejected Claimant with Deferral of Removal eligibility group. The IFHP coverage effective and termination dates must be the same as the dates issued for the administrative deferral of removal.

As referenced in OB 583, the Rejected Claimant with Deferral of Removal eligibility group was part of the temporary measures effective as of November 5, 2014. Until all CBSA offices use GCMS and the issuance of IFHP coverage can be automated, the workaround described in the OB will continue to ensure individuals who fall under this group receive coverage.

Foreign nationals who benefitted from the Haiti Special Measures

Foreign nationals who benefitted from the HSM at the time of the lifting of the TSR on Haiti and who apply for H&C consideration within six months from the date of the TSR lifting will be eligible for coverage of benefits under the IFHP. These individuals and their accompanying dependants will be eligible for Type 3 coverage (Basic Coverage and Public Health or Public Safety Prescription Drug Coverage), under eligibility group Ministerial Discretion #4, until a final decision is made on their permanent residence application. Coverage ends if they become eligible for provincial or territorial health insurance.

Additionally, individuals who benefitted from the HSM and their accompanying dependants continue to have access to IFHP coverage for the duration of the work permits issued under the HSM.

Individuals benefitting from the HSM whose work permits expire and who do not apply for H&C consideration within six months of the TSR lifting will no longer be eligible for coverage under the IFHP.

Counselling of clients

Removal postponed

Clients who contact the CIC Call Centre should be provided with an update on case status and should be counselled on the administrative deferral of removal provisions that have been put in place for Haiti and Zimbabwe. These individuals should be informed that their removal is considered deferred if they are eligible (see the eligibility criteria for temporary public policy).

Persons must meet all the eligibility criteria in order to be considered for a deferral of their removal pending their H&C review. Where all the criteria are not met, the CBSA may effect removal immediately. Such persons may be eligible to apply for a PRRA.

Transitional provisions for H&C applications for permanent residence received prior to TSR lifting and while stage 1 decision is pending

In cases where an H&C application stage 1 decision was pending at the time of the lifting of the TSR (December 1, 2014), CIC will

  • send a letter that gives the applicant the opportunity to update their H&C application within 60 days;
  • after the 60 days have passed, conduct the eligibility assessment within three weeks.

If the applicant is eligible, CIC will

If the applicant is not eligible, CIC will

  • add the following note in the IMM screen in GCMS: “Applicant applied for H&C consideration and does not meet the eligibility criteria for the temporary public policy under OB 600 due to [insert reason]. Processing of application will continue as per regular procedures.”;
  • process the application as per regular procedures;
  • if the application is approved, request a CSQ.

Other permanent resident categories

When an applicant has submitted an application for permanent residence on or before December 1, 2014, under an in-Canada class (e.g., spouse or common-law partner in Canada class, live-in caregiver class, Canadian experience class or permit holder class) and no stage 1 decision has been made, that application will continue to be processed but the applicant will not benefit from an administrative deferral of removal under the temporary public policy.

If that applicant meets the eligibility criteria as indicated in this OB, they may qualify for an administrative deferral of removal if they submit an H&C application within six months of December 1, 2014. An H&C application may be appended to an existing pending application for permanent residence; no fees are required as per R307. The request must be sent to the office processing the application for permanent residence. The officer will assess the eligibility criteria for the temporary public policy and follow the steps outlined above (GCMS note, special program coding, etc).

Pre-removal risk assessment

Persons whose H&C applications are rejected and who are subject to an enforceable removal order will be eligible for the PRRA through the regular process. Removal of those who apply under the PRRA is stayed under section R232.

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