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.
When a refugee application is being reviewed on paper, it is being assessed on basic eligibility criteria and on admissibility elements. Refugee applications must be assessed against the requirements of the class under which they have been submitted. If an applicant fails to meet the requirements in one class (Convention refugee abroad class), it must be assessed against the criteria of the other refugee class (country of asylum class).
Assessment on paper without an interview is rare in the refugee context given that information on the application is often incomplete, and substantiating documentation may be unavailable. There is nothing, however, that prevents a positive determination without an interview, or a negative determination when it is clear that an applicant is ineligible (e.g. not outside their country of origin).
Assessing basic eligibility criteria
When assessing eligibility, the officer must consider four basic factors. These factors are whether:
- the applicant is a member of the Convention refugee abroad class or a member of the Country of asylum class (if the principal applicant does not meet the Convention refugee definition, the officer proceeds to do an assessment under the Country of asylum class);
- the applicant’s refugee claim is credible;
- the applicant can demonstrate the ability to establish themselves (not applicable for applicants requiring urgent protection or considered vulnerable); and
- the applicant has no durable solution within a reasonable period of time other than resettlement to Canada.
The following steps should be taken once an eligibility determination has been made.
If the applicant meets basic eligibility criteria
If the applicant meets basic eligibility criteria and is privately sponsored
- Record the class of the refugee applicant as above.
- Send out the first processing benchmark message to the sponsor(s) and the local CIC. The message should say: "Completed application received by the visa office on (insert date). An interview is scheduled for (insert date) or will be scheduled within (insert number) months."
- Determine if applicant can be accepted without an interview
- Proceed with determining admissibility.
If the applicant does not meet basic eligibility criteria
Proceed to Refusing application without interview.
Note: If determined ineligible, the officer must still assess the eligibility and admissibility of the spouse/common-law partner and/or any dependants. If one family member qualifies, that status applies to all other family members, including the original principal applicant.
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