Notice – Exemptions to the Bars on Applying for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment

August 15, 2012 — With the passage of the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act, individuals who have received a final decision on their refugee claim from the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) or a pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA) within the last 12 months are not eligible for a PRRA unless they are eligible for an exemption. A final decision on a refugee claim or PRRA assessment includes rejected, abandoned and withdrawn applications.

Effective today, some individuals may be eligible for a PRRA if they come from one of the following exempted countries and they received a final decision from the IRB or a final PRRA decision on or between August 15, 2011, and August 14, 2012.

Exempted countries:

  • Central African Republic
  • Egypt
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Libya
  • Mali
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • Syria

It is important to note that the ability to apply for PRRA does not guarantee the outcome of the risk assessment. Officers at Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will continue to decide cases individually, based on the information provided.

Please note that individuals are responsible for keeping their PRRA application up-to-date. It is the applicant’s responsibility to inform CIC of any changes to their application. This is required, so that decision makers have all the information an individual wants considered for their application.

People who receive a final IRB or PRRA decision after August 14, 2012, are not entitled to a PRRA for 12 months, even if they come from a country listed above. Any recent changes in country conditions will have been considered when the refugee claim was decided or during the PRRA process.

Effective today, CIC will also discontinue the processing of PRRA applications that are currently in the inventory for which a final IRB or PRRA decision was made within the last 12 months (on or between August 15, 2011 and August 14, 2012) and for which a country exemption does not apply.

These individuals will be informed that they are not entitled to apply for a PRRA, that the removal order against them may now be enforced, and they are required to leave Canada.

The majority of people who seek a PRRA are failed refugee claimants. These individuals will have had their asylum claim heard before the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) at the independent IRB.

Once the new asylum system starts later in 2012, most claimants will also have had the opportunity to appeal a negative RPD decision to the new Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) at the IRB.

All claimants can ask the Federal Court to review a negative decision.

In considering what countries to exempt, CIC considers any event that has recently arisen in a country that could place all or some of its nationals in a situation of risk similar to those defined in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (sections 96—definition of a Convention Refugee and 97—definition of a person in need of protection).

Relevant changes may include:

  • new laws, policies and practices that target a specific population;
  • changes in laws, policies, practices or government that indicate government sanction of persecution against certain groups; or
  • changes in laws or practices that indicate substantial grounds to believe that a danger of torture exists or that indicate a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment or risk to life that is not generalized to the entire population of a country.

Please note that above list of exempted countries is not the same as the list of countries for which a temporary suspension of removals (TSR) applies. The Government of Canada may impose a temporary suspension of removals to countries when conditions such as war or environmental disaster endanger the safety and security of the civilian population. A suspension of removals is always only a temporary measure. It is lifted when conditions in the country improve and there is no longer a generalized risk. For more information, visit the Canada Border Services Agency website.

The list of countries exempt from the bar on accessing a PRRA includes a set of countries in which country conditions have worsened in the past 12 months (August 15, 2011 to August 14, 2012). As a result of this new change in country conditions, individuals could face a situation of risk that may warrant an additional assessment, which is why they are exempt from the bar on a PRRA.

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