Procedures at inland offices regarding in-Canada claims for refugee protection

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.

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Form completion

When a person indicates a need for refugee protection, and has not yet completed the required forms, they must be given the Claiming Refugee Protection from inside Canada handout that outlines what is required in order to submit a refugee claim and provides the website links to the relevant Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) forms. The non-delegated staff will advise the person to complete the forms using a computer, if possible, and to print the forms once completed. Claimants’ use of a computer will result in more efficient interviews and fewer data entry errors. The person’s information is recorded and a note entered into the Global Case Management System (GCMS) indicating that the client was given instructions to return with completed refugee claim application forms.

Registration

When the claimant returns with their forms, office staff verify that the forms are complete (or nearly complete). If operational realities permit (that is, an officer, interpreter and interview room are available), the claim can be processed that same day. If same-day processing is not possible, the claimant is scheduled for an interview at an appropriate time. Scanning the 2-dimensional (2D) barcode on the Generic Application Form for Canada [IMM 0008] automatically creates a prospective client and prospective application for each person listed in the forms. It also automatically groups the family’s claims. See GCMS Online Help, Overview: Search for more information on how to perform an integrated search, using the “Go To Search” button on a prospective application, and promote it.

If the claimants already possess a temporary resident visa (TRV) or electronic travel authorization (eTA), it may be easier simply to create a refugee claim against the existing GCMS record. A GCMS integrated name search must be conducted by

  • name
  • gender
  • date of birth

This allows staff to identify any known derogatory information on the claimant. If the claimant is not found in GCMS or the Field Operations Support System (FOSS), staff must create them as a client. If the claimant is found only in FOSS, the officer imports the person’s information from the FOSS database into GCMS, per current instructions. If the claimant’s file is found in GCMS or has been imported, then a refugee claim application must be created. Once the client and application are created, the prospective claimant should be scheduled for their intake interview in GCMS (if they cannot be seen immediately).

The claimant should have their biometrics captured and their travel documents seized.

Data from the client’s completed forms may be entered in GCMS before the interview.

Biometrics and information sharing

Per section 12.2 of the Immigration Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR), all refugee claimants aged 14 years or older should have their biometrics captured. Biometrics and information sharing allow the Government of Canada to ensure that a claimant does not have a Canadian or United States (U.S.) criminal record. It helps maintain program integrity by ensuring that previous claimants do not access the Canadian asylum system more than once. Information sharing also prevents claimants from accessing multiple asylum systems in an effort to “asylum shop”. It can even assist in verifying the credibility of a claim. If a response of “Poor Quality” is returned, and the person has previously been able to provide biometrics (to obtain a TRV), a second attempt at capturing the person’s biometrics should be made.

Biographic information sharing should occur for minors under 14 years of age only if their accompanying parents’ biometric information sharing reveals an ineligibility and if the officer has a reasonable suspicion that sharing of the child’s biographic information would reveal a similar ineligibility.

Scheduling

When scheduling an appointment, IRCC should retain the completed forms. A properly completed, validated and printed Generic Application Form for Canada [IMM 0008] includes a 2D barcode, which allows IRCC to scan the data into GCMS. This creates the claimant (a client) and their application in GCMS, saving staff data entry work.

Office staff can choose to provide claimants with the GCMS-generated notice to appear if scheduling an eligibility interview for a future date.

Office staff must provide the claimant with the acknowledgement of claim letter. This letter provides the claimant with proof that they have made a claim. It can be presented to medical professionals as proof of Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) coverage until an eligibility decision is made, and a refugee protection claimant document (RPCD) is issued.

Claimants must also be provided with their immigration medical examination (IME) forms. This allows claimants to schedule their IME with an immigration medical practitioner.

Claimants must be asked to bring their identity and travel documents to their interview appointment if the documents have not already been seized.

Before the claimant departs, an officer should provide the claimant with an acknowledgement of conditions, citing subsection A16(2.1), advising when to return.

Administration

Whether the claimant is scheduled to return or receives same-day processing, there are several administrative tasks that must occur.

Staff should check GCMS to verify if any temporary resident applications were processed for the claimant. If so, a GCMS information request for the application should be generated and provided to the claimant and to the IRB, which will eliminate the need for the IRB to contact IRCC offices overseas in search of previous visa applications. Key TRV-supporting documents, including family composition and employment documents, should also be printed from GCMS.

Staff are expected to record the outcome of all criminality checks conducted as part of the refugee claimant intake process. Biometric results are populated automatically in GCMS if there is no reportable trace (NRT). All other results should be reviewed and the activity status manually updated to reflect the decision.

It is very important for families to be grouped together in GCMS, as this is what alerts the IRB to schedule the claimants together.

Refugee claimants are considered to be inadmissible for non-compliance [A41(a) and A20(1)(a)]. An inadmissibility report (that is, a section A44 report) should be prepared, even if it cannot yet be issued to the claimant (for example, because no interpreter is available).

Eligibility decisions

A refugee claim must be made to an officer [A99(3)]. If eligible, the claim must be referred to the Refugee Protection Division (RPD).

Although there is no longer a 3-workday deadline, it is expected that most eligibility decisions can be made on the day of the Minister’s delegate review, if biometric and information-sharing results from partners are received. An eligibility decision should not be made until the results have been received.

The burden rests on a claimant to prove they are eligible [A100(1.1)].

If an officer suspects that a claimant is not eligible, the claimant should be questioned about the facts supporting this suspicion. If the claimant maintains that they are eligible, and there are no contradicting facts, the claim should be found eligible and referred to the RPD. However, detailed notes should be provided to the Reviews and Interventions Office about the officer’s concerns.

Minister’s delegate review and interview

The purpose of the interview is twofold:

  1. to gather any needed information about the claim and claimant; the interview is not adversarial and should be only for the purpose of information gathering
  2. to conduct the Minister’s delegate review related to the section A44 report, prepared with respect to the claimant

When all information has been entered into GCMS, an eligibility decision can be made.

All forms must be scanned and saved to GCMS. Once this is done, the security check can be triggered.

A final eligibility decision is then made on the application, which triggers the referral to the RPD and creates the relevant documents:

  • Medical Report form [IMM 1017] (if not previously provided)
  • RPCD
  • confirmation of referral

Once all documents are printed and finalized, the application status and app status reason in GCMS should reflect the officer’s decision.

Those whose claims are eligible must be given an IRB Claimant’s Kit, stocks of which are provided by the IRB.Footnote 1 IRCC inland offices receive Claimant’s Kits “missing” a Basis of Claim (BOC) Form (as this will have already been completed by the claimant). The kit contains a Notification of Contact Information form. It may appear that (in all cases) the claimant must complete and submit this form to the IRB within 10 days. However, it only needs to be completed and submitted if the claimant was unable to list an address on their other forms, or in the case of a change of address.

Note: There is no need to affix a photograph to the IMM 1017, as the client is instructed to bring both their RPCD and photographs to the panel physician (for identity verification purposes).

As mentioned above, staff must scan the forms, travel and identity documents, etc., and save them into GCMS. These documents may later be leveraged by other GCMS users (at the IRB, IRCC and at the Canada Border Services Agency [CBSA]), reducing file transfer. For detailed information on scanning and saving, see the instructions for scanning and sharing documents.

Offices must courier to the RPD packages that include the following items or copies thereof:

  • Generic Application Form for Canada [IMM 0008]
  • Additional Dependants / Declaration Form [IMM 0008DEP], if applicable
  • Schedule A – Background / Declaration [IMM 5669]
  • Schedule 12 – Additional Information – Refugee Claimants Inside Canada [IMM 0008 – Schedule 12]
  • Basis of Claim Form (must be the original), plus any additional submissions
  • Notice to Appear
  • Notice of Seizure [IMM 5265]
  • copies of seized documents (genuine and fraudulent)
  • client photographs (stapled to the back of the principal applicant’s IMM 0008)
  • identity and travel documents
  • visa application file (Access to Information and Privacy [ATIP] report or forms saved to GCMS), if applicable
  • completed Checklist – Documents Provided to Refugee Claimant(s) [IMM 5780]
  • interview notes
  • any other documents submitted

Attention: These packages must be couriered to the RPD on a daily basis (every second day for smaller offices). Each package must contain a completed, signed and dated Documents Provided to Refugee Claimant(s) sheet. This will help demonstrate to the RPD that the client was given the required documentation.

Table – Saving and attaching files to GCMS
Item Saved and attached to GCMS? Data loaded into GCMS?
IMM 0008 Yes – Application Incoming Correspondence Yes (2D barcode can be scanned to populate data)
Schedule 12 Yes – Application Incoming Correspondence N/A
Schedule A Yes – Application Incoming Correspondence Only if uploaded directly from a desktop
Basis of Claim Form Yes – Application Incoming Correspondence N/A
Identity and travel documents Yes – Client Documents N/A
Officer’s notes (if applicable) Yes N/A
Visa office file (if applicable) GCMS document N/A

Note: It is acceptable to scan the IMM 0008, Schedule 12, Schedule A and other non BOC forms into GCMS as one attachment. The BOC and travel documents should be scanned individually.

Upon completion of the above, the officer places the following documents in the client’s physical file:

  • original IMM 0008 and IMM 0008 – Schedule 12
  • original IMM 5669
  • copy of the BOC form
  • signed copy of the RPCD
  • Use of a Representative [IMM 5476]
  • Interpreter Declaration [IMM 1265]
  • terms and conditions
  • Notice of Seizure
  • client’s photographs
  • fingerprint record, if completed through LiveScan
  • copy of the ATIP report or forms saved to GCMS (when the claimant has a TRV)
  • seized travel and identity documents

Refugee claimants should be given the Information pamphlet for refugee claimants, which contains important information regarding IFHP coverage, work permits, etc.

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