2.A Refugees: From Eligibility to Arrival
A.6 How are refugees screened?
(vi) What happens if refugees do not pass their screening?
How Canada Does It
If refugees do not pass their screening for medical, security, or criminality reasons, they will be informed that they are either ineligible or inadmissible to Canada under the relevant provisions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). If one member of the refugee family is inadmissible, the whole family will be inadmissible. If a private sponsorship application or a refugee’s application for permanent residence is refused, there may be grounds to (1) request reconsideration; or (2) judicially review the decision in court. In Visa Office-Referred programs, refugees have already satisfied eligibility and admissibility criteria by the time a match is made with a private sponsoring group in Canada.
Refugees identified for resettlement to Canada through a Visa Office-Referred program (see 2.A.2(i)) have already been determined to be eligible and admissible by the time a match is made with a private sponsoring group in Canada (see 2.B.3(i)). For all other private sponsorship streams, if the refugee does not pass the screening, the visa officer will notify the refugee and sponsors that the application has been refused because the refugee is ineligible or inadmissible to Canada. The refusal letter will identify the relevant provision from the IRPA (see 2.A.6(i) and 2.A.6(ii)).
Refusals are documented in the Government of Canada’s Global Case Management System. In cases of refusal, the visa officer must include notes in the database explaining why he/she refused the application.
If the refugee applicant believes that the visa officer’s decision was unreasonable, there may be grounds to:
- REQUEST RECONSIDERATION: When a request for reconsideration is made, visa officers are instructed to consider the following factors in making their decision: (1) the passage of time between the refusal and the request for reconsideration; (2) whether principles of natural justice and procedural fairness were followed; (3) whether an administrative error was committed or the visa officer acted outside of his/her jurisdiction; (4) whether new evidence was submitted that affects the assessment; (5) whether there are concerns regarding fraud or misrepresentation; and (6) whether there is a negative decision from Canada’s Federal Court on judicial review.
- JUDICIALLY REVIEW THE DECISION: The Federal Court of Canada will examine whether the visa officer’s process and reasons for refusing the application were reasonable and correct in law. If the court determines that the visa officer’s decision was not fair or reasonable, or the officer made an error in law, the court may quash the visa officer’s decision and order another visa officer to redetermine (review) the case. A redetermination does not necessarily mean that the new visa officer will come to a different conclusion.
Refugees who do not meet the eligibility criteria for protection in Canada, but who have compelling reasons for why they should nevertheless be granted protection can also request that they be admitted on humanitarian and compassionate grounds pursuant to s. 25 of the IRPA. For example, an orphaned child may receive an exemption from Canada’s definition of “family” and “dependant” in order to resettle to Canada with his/her caretakers. Sponsors may work with refugees to pursue the above options.