Canada launches new fast-track system for processing refugee claims

posted on February 1, 2019

By Globe News |

Starting this week, many of the more than 64,000 asylum seekers in Canada waiting for their cases to be heard could be eligible for a new fast-tracked approach to processing refugee claims, Global News has learned.

Documents released exclusively to Global News by Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) describe the new streamlined process as a “strategic” effort to better allocate the Board’s resources.

The new procedures affect “less complex” cases and include rules for paper-based handling of claims — meaning the claimant wouldn’t need to appear in person before a refugee judge — and a new “short-hearing” process, which is supposed to take two hours or less.

To facilitate the new system, the IRB has created a list of countries and claim types which it “generally considers as appropriate” for processing under these new rules.

The list includes gender- and aged-based claims from Iran, extortion and kidnapping cases from Libya, religious-based claims from Pakistan and cases of political or military opposition from Sudan.

Any women from Saudi Arabia who are at risk because they are “female” are also eligible for the new paper-based process, as are certain types of cases from countries such as Venezuela, Turkey, Egypt, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

What criteria was used?
According to the IRB, countries or claim types with an acceptance rate of 80 per cent or higher are eligible for the new paper-based — or “file-review” — process.

Countries or claim types where “identity is generally established by reliable documents” are also eligible for the paper-based process, as are claims that do not involve “complex legal or factual issues” and claims where the type of risks faced by would-be refugees are generally not disputed.

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