Refugee eligibility for resettlement in Canada
There are two classes of persons who may qualify as refugees for Canada’s refugee and humanitarian resettlement program:
- Convention Refugees Abroad Class;
- Country of Asylum Class.
To qualify as a Convention Refugee Abroad, a person must:
- Have a well-founded fear of persecution because of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion; and
- be outside the country of his or her nationality and be unable or, by reason of that fear, unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country; or
- not have a country of nationality, be outside the country of his or her former habitual residence and be unable or, by reason of that fear, unwilling to return to that country.
- be outside Canada;
- be seeking resettlement in Canada;
- not have a prospect of another durable solution, within a reasonable period of time, that is: cannot return to his or her country of nationality or habitual residence;
- be unable to integrate in the country of refuge or the country of first asylum; and
- not have another offer of resettlement from a country other than Canada.
To qualify within the Country of Asylum Class, a person must:
- be outside his or her country of citizenship or habitual residence;
- have been, and continues to be, seriously and personally affected by civil war or armed conflict or have suffered massive violations of human rights;
- have no possibility of finding an adequate solution to his or her situation within a reasonable period of time.
To be accepted for resettlement as refugees in Canada, the person must also be:
- privately sponsored; or
- assisted by the government (in the case of Convention Refugees Abroad); or
- have adequate financial resources to support himself or herself and any dependents.
Normally, the person must also have a document proving recognized refugee status, issued by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) or a foreign state.
As explained on a Government of Canada website:
- An officer at a Canadian visa office makes the final decision on whether someone meets one of these definitions and is, therefore, eligible for resettlement.
- The refugee must also pass medical, security and admissibility checks.
- Refugees will be assessed on their ability to establish successfully in Canada (except for those in urgent need of protection or in vulnerable circumstances.)
- In making this assessment, the visa officer will consider whether the refugee has relatives or a sponsor in Canada, the ability to speak or learn to speak English or French, the potential for employment and resourcefulness.