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Canadian immigration and refugee law

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Canadian immigration and refugee law

Canadian immigration and refugee law concerns the area of law related to the admission of foreign nationals into Canada, their rights and responsibilities once admitted, and the conditions of their removal. The primary law on these matters is in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which goals include economic growth, family reunification, and compliance with humanitarian treaties.


Enabling law

The primary statute is the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) which was introduced in 2002 to replace the former Immigration Act of 1976. The many changes included broader discretion for immigrations officers when evaluating applications. The IRPA is accompanied by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.

Other relevant legislation include the Citizenship Act, and certain immigration and refugee-related provisions of the Criminal Code.

Admission classes

Canadian immigration policy allows several classes of people to enter. The Family Class allows permanent residents or citizens to sponsor a family member's entrance into the country. The Economic Class provides admission to applicants (and their immediate families) who are supposed to be likely to find employment and contribute to the Canadian economy. This is determined by ranking candidates against one another, and the weighing of factors such as education, language skills, and work experience. Some 60,000 come to Canada each year under the International Experience Canada initiative, which provides Working Holiday, internship, and study visas.

Claims and appeals

Claims for refugee status and for admissibility as well as appeals of the decisions of the immigration officers are directed to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. The Board is the largest tribunal in Canada and hears over 25,000 claims a year. Decision of the Board can be appealed to the Federal Court, which hears about 2,500 appeals on immigration and refugee matters a year.

Current issues

The Canadian Parliament has previously debated whether to allow former US war resisters, such as soldiers avoiding redeployment to Iraq, to stay in Canada. In mid-2010, the Federal Court of Appeal ruled that Jeremy Hinzman, an American soldier seeking asylum, should be allowed to remain in Canada, based on his pacifist religious beliefs. Former Member of Parliament Gerard Kennedy's Private Member's Bill on the issue of war resisters was defeated in late September.

Bill C-31, "Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act", aims to amend Canadian immigration and refugee law.

In June 2012, the Canadian government introduced a series of changes affecting the Interim Federal Health Program which covers refugee health care.


Canadian immigration and refugee law Wikipedia

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