Processing in-Canada and port of entry claims: General requirements and administration

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

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Medicals and related documentation

Medical examination

All refugee claimants in Canada must submit to a medical examination (R30(1)(e)). The cost of the medical examination is covered by the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP). All claimants are assessed by a Panel Physician. Medical screening must be completed within 30 days from the date the claim was received.

Under the following conditions, a repeat medical is not required for an in-Canada refugee claim:

  • They have already had an immigration medical examination and the results are still valid.
  • The result is M1, M2 or M3, unless the M3 is notated “only acceptable as visitor”.

Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP)

Once a person is found eligible to make a refugee claim, determine whether the claimant is eligible for IFHP coverage.

Dependents in Canada who are not included in the principal applicant’s refugee claim and who have not made their own refugee claim, are not entitled to IFHP benefits.

If the client is eligible, and the appropriate systems entries are made, the client’s refugee protection claimant document (RPCD) should feature text indicating this eligibility.

Permits and documents

Study permits

Foreign nationals may apply for a study permit after entering Canada if they are subject to an unenforceable removal order (R215). This also applies to refugee claimants and their accompanying family members.

Foreign nationals may also apply for a study permit when completing the “Schedule 12 Additional Information – Refugee Claimants Inside Canada” form [IMM 0008 (PDF, 655 KB)] if they also possess a letter of acceptance. Permits are sent by mail.

If there is no application for a study permit on the “Schedule 12” form, upon confirmation of eligibility, the foreign national may apply for a study permit by filling out a study permit application [IMM 5709 (PDF, 582 KB)].

Minor children of claimants do not require a study permit (A30 (2)).

Learn more about issuing student permits.

Work permits

Refugee claimants who are not nationals of a designated country of origin (DCO) (see 180-day bar on work permits for DCO nationals) may apply for a work permit by completing a Generic Application Form for Canada (“Schedule 12” form) [IMM 0008 (PDF, 655 KB)] and indicating on the form that they wish to apply for a work permit. The “Apply for” field in the Global Case Management System (GCMS) must be updated to reflect the selection of the IMM 008 form. If the claim is found eligible, and the medical examination has been completed, the work permit application is automatically created in GCMS, and the permit is sent by mail. If the claimant is not interested in obtaining a permit at the time of claiming or is a national of a DCO country, the officer should enter “None”.

A foreign national may apply for a work permit by filling out a work permit application [IMM 5710 (PDF, 576 KB)] or applying online if they did not apply via the “Schedule 12” form.

Work permits may be issued to people whose refugee claims are eligible for referral to the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) or who are subject to an unenforceable removal order [R206]. This is the case, provided

  • the claimant has no other means of support
  • fingerprints and photographs have been done
  • results of the immigration medical examination for the claimant and any dependants are on file

180-day bar on work permits for DCO nationals

Per subsection 206(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR), DCO claimants may not be issued a work permit unless at least 180 days have elapsed since their claim was referred to the RPD. If a DCO claim is approved earlier, the client may apply for a work permit as a protected person. For more information, see Operational Bulletin (OB) 484, Processing work permits for DCO and non-DCO refugee claimants.

Family members in Canada may apply for a work permit if they are described in section R199.

Note: On April 30, 2019, the Minister directed the department to eliminate the DCO list. The list was eliminated May 10, 2019. Therefore, the 180-day bar on work permits for DCO nationals has effectively ceased to exist.

However, per the IRPR and Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA)Footnote 1, the bar still applies to DCO nationals who made a refugee claim during the 180 days before May 10, 2019. To overcome this, a public policy has been established pursuant to section A25.2. Under the public policy, officers have the delegated authority to exempt affected people from the 180-day work permit bar.

Replacement of lost, stolen or destroyed RPCDs and renewal of expired RPCDs

Regardless of where the claim is originally made, clients should contact the nearest local Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) office for the replacement or renewal of an RPCD. If the client does not know the location of the nearest local IRCC office, they may check online.

General administration

Referrals from social services agencies

In large processing centres, inland IRCC offices may receive referrals of refugee claimants from social service agencies (for example, the Salvation Army). When possible, offices should deal with such claimants expeditiously so that they do not remain in shelters longer than necessary.

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