In-Canada claims for refugee protection: Interviews

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

IRCC officers are to ask the claimant whether they would like to modify or add to any of the information in the Client Application Summary at the interview. This will ensure that the claimant was given the opportunity to address any errors or issues with the information they provided. Any changes are to be recorded in the Online Refugee Claim Amendment Form.

During the interview, you:

  • are under a duty to act impartially;
  • should not evaluate the credibility of the refugee claim. Assessment of the merits of a refugee claim, including credibility, is the responsibility of the IRB;
  • should keep in mind that claimants may:
    • have travelled long distances and may be exhausted
    • fear government officials
    • suffer from post-traumatic stress
    • not trust an interpreter
    • have a medical condition, or mental or psychological incapacity that has an impact on the interview
    • have young children who provide a distraction during the interview
    • be reluctant to discuss some things in front of a spouse or other family members.

If an admissibility hearing will be held, or in the case of detention, inform the claimant that they may retain and instruct counsel.

Guidelines for interviews:

  • keep questions short and clear
  • when appropriate, interview spouses separately
  • alternate between open and closed questions
  • give encouragement to show that you are listening
  • clarify any discrepancies; (make sure to document any discrepancies that the applicant cannot explain)
  • pay careful attention to details
  • be positive in your approach
  • be mindful not to lead the applicant by suggestion or otherwise circumscribe the interview.

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