Notice - Measures for people affected by the lifting of the temporary suspension of removals to Burundi, Liberia and Rwanda

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Reminder to people from Burundi, Liberia and Rwanda

The six-month window for some people from Burundi, Liberia or Rwanda to apply for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds will close on January 23, 2010.

Measures for people affected by the lifting of the temporary suspension of removals to Burundi, Liberia and Rwanda

Temporary suspension of removals lifted

July 23, 2009 — In acknowledgment of improved conditions in Burundi, Liberia and Rwanda, the Minister of Public Safety, on July 23, 2009, lifted the temporary suspension of removals (TSR) to these three countries.

The Government of Canada may impose a TSR when a country’s general conditions (for example, war or a natural disaster) put the safety of the general population at risk. A suspension of removals is temporary. It is lifted when country conditions improve and the public is no longer in danger.

When a suspension of removals is in place, people who would normally be returned to their home countries are allowed to stay in Canada until the suspension of removals is lifted. A TSR does not apply to people who are inadmissible for reasons of criminality or serious criminality, security, violating human or international rights or organized crime, or to those excluded under the Refugee Convention. People subject to a TSR may also choose to return to their country voluntarily.

Measures to assist those affected by the lifting

Recognizing that some of the people from Burundi, Liberia and Rwanda have been in Canada for a decade or more and may have developed significant ties to this country, the government has implemented measures for individuals affected by the lifting.

Individuals subject to a removal order as a result of the TSR lifting who apply for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) grounds will be allowed to stay in Canada while their application is reviewed.

To qualify, individuals must apply for permanent residence on H&C grounds in Canada no later than six months from July 23, 2009 (i.e., on or before January 23, 2010).

Those who have applied for refugee protection on or before July 23, 2009, must apply for permanent residence on H&C grounds no later than six months from a negative decision by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB).

In this context, “negative decision” refers to the IRB’s first negative decision after July 23, 2009. The six-month time frame begins at that point irrespective of any avenues of recourse, including judicial review before the Federal Court.

In addition, individuals in Quebec must be residing in that province on July 23, 2009, and continue to reside there at the time they apply as well as during the processing of that application.

People affected by the lifting of the suspension of removals, and who apply for H&C consideration, will also be eligible to work and study in Canada while they await the decision on their application.

For more information on the decision to lift the TSR to Burundi, Liberia and Rwanda, please see the news release.

Who is eligible to stay in Canada while their application for permanent residence on H&C grounds is under review?

To be eligible to stay in Canada until a decision is made on your H&C application, you must meet these criteria:

  • You must be a national of Burundi, Liberia or Rwanda;
  • You must have been residing in Canada on July 23, 2009;
  • You must be the subject of a removal order (including conditional removal orders);
  • You must never have been found to be ineligible to have a refugee claim referred to the IRB;
  • You must not be inadmissible on grounds of security, human or international rights violations, serious criminality, criminality or organized criminality;
  • You must not have been excluded by the IRB from refugee protection under the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees;
  • You must not have had criminal charges dropped by the Crown to effect a removal order;
  • You must not have an outstanding immigration or criminal warrant;
  • You must have applied for permanent residence on H&C grounds in Canada no later than six months from July 23, 2009 (i.e., on or before January 23, 2010) or, for those who have applied for refugee protection on or before July 23, 2009, no later than six months from a negative decision by the IRB.
  • In this context, “negative decision” refers to the IRB’s first negative decision after July 23, 2009. The six-month time frame begins at that point irrespective of any avenues of recourse, including judicial review before the Federal Court.

In addition, individuals in Quebec must be residing in that province on July 23, 2009, and continue to reside there at the time they apply as well as during the processing of that application.

How do I apply for humanitarian and compassionate consideration?

You can download an application form or call CIC. Complete the application and mail it to the address on the form.

Important: If you meet the criteria listed above, the envelope should specify the country of origin and be clearly labeled with the words “TSR H&C application from [Burundi or Liberia or Rwanda]” when you mail your application.

What if I live in Quebec?

All citizens of Burundi, Liberia and Rwanda who are under a removal order can apply for H&C consideration. If you are eligible, you will be allowed to stay in Canada while your application is being decided.

However, if an individual lives in the province of Quebec, the provincial immigration authority, the Ministère de l’Immigration et des Communautés culturelles (MICC), must be consulted on the applicant’s level of integration. CIC and the MICC have set up joint procedures to assess these applications.

The applicant concerned must submit their application to CIC. CIC will refer applications to the MICC once their eligibility is confirmed. The MICC will then send a notice to CIC on the level of integration of the applicant. CIC will continue the review to determine whether humanitarian considerations justify processing the application for permanent residence. If the decision is positive, the applicant must submit a Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ) application to the MICC. If the MICC refuses to issue a CSQ, CIC will continue to process the application provided the applicant chooses to relocate outside Quebec.

How does CIC decide which applications are approved?

Each application is examined on its own merits. All relevant factors are considered, such as the best interests of any child directly involved, establishment in Canada, integration into Canadian society, and any other factors put forward by the applicant.

If I don’t apply for H&C consideration by the six-month deadline, will I be removed?

Yes. The deferral of removal applies to eligible individuals who apply for permanent residence on H&C grounds in Canada no later than six months from July 23, 2009 (i.e., on or before January 23, 2010) or for those who have applied for refugee protection on or before July 23, 2009, no later than six months from a negative decision by the IRB.

In this context, “negative decision” refers to the IRB’s first negative decision after July 23, 2009. The six-month time frame begins at that point irrespective of any avenues of recourse, including judicial review before the Federal Court.

Before they are removed, however, most people will be eligible for a pre-removal risk assessment.

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