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Immigration for Refugees and Protected Persons

For individuals who are applying for immigration as refugees or protected persons, it’s important to understand the guidelines and procedures as set out by the Government of Canada. A person who has been accepted as a “permanent resident” can stay in Canada on a permanent basis, but is not recognized as a Canadian citizen. There are also a number of other categories to understand, each with a specific definition. Understanding the guidelines will make for a much better process.

A Protected Person in Canada

Canada has an Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), and a Citizenship and Immigration (CIC) department. Both can decide if an applicant is a Protected Person. You are a Protected Person if the IRB decides that you need protection, or if you are a “Convention Refugee”. You are also a Protected Person if CIC has approved your Pre-Removal Risk Assessment. A Protected Person can apply for permanent residency, based on application requirements.

Protected Temporary Residents

It is also possible to apply for permanent residency in Canada if you are recognized as a member of the Protected Temporary Residents Class. Protected Temporary Residents are individuals who are admitted to the country on a temporary resident permit, and who have been deemed to be in urgent need of protection. Again, these applicants have the right to apply for official permanent residency, based on the prescribed application requirements.

Specific Application Eligibilities

If the IRB or CIC has considered you to be a Protected Person or a Protected Temporary Resident, you are eligible to apply for permanent residency. You are NOT eligible if you ARE:

A “Convention Refugee” from another country, where you could return and live permanently without any fear of potential persecution.

A permanent resident, citizen, or national of another country, other than the one you left, where you could live without fear of persecution.

Applying for Permanent Residency

You can apply for Permanent Residency after being notified by IRB or CIC that you are officially a Protected Person (unless you have been deemed a Designated Foreign National). Under this provision, the Minister of Public Safety may define the arrival of a person as an “irregular arrival”.  There are a variety of situations that define an “irregular arrival” - all individuals considered to be Designated Foreign Nationals are notified in writing.

Permanent Residency as a DFN

Designated Foreign Nationals cannot apply for permanent residency for at least 5 years. In some cases, there are specific conditions enforced by the Canada Border Services Agency. The 5-year period begins on the date when the final determination was made on the refugee claim. Where there was no refugee claim (and therefore no determination), the 5-year period begins at that point when the “irregular arrival” was designated.

Applying with family members

All family members must be included in the application process. Women must list all their born children. Men must list all their fathered children. Men and women must both list spouses and/or partners. There are also regulations for family members who are abroad, but whose whereabouts are not known. Applicants should be familiar with definitions provided for family members, like spouse; common-law partner; dependent children.

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