April 29, 2010
Q. I understand the government has changed the law.I am seeking refugee status and have put in a humanitarian case too.Now I cannot have both? I am being told I should make other applications right away.What should I do? Your advice would really help.
A.We have begun receiving questions after the Government’s announcement a few weeks ago. First it is important to highlight these are proposed changes and not law at this time.Second, on a review of the proposed changes (Bill C-11), there does not appear to be mention of making changes retroactively, meaning to those persons who have already claimed protected person status and filed a humanitarian and compassionate (H&C;) grounds application.If the Bill became law as it currently reads yes there would a restriction on seeking protected person status and H&C; relief at the same time but for those that already filed and/or claimed.This restriction will be a very hotly contested issue and it is not clear if it will become law.Other potential changes include a list of certain countries that are deemed to be safe, a screening by a tribunal officer from the RPD at first instance, the introduction of a Refugee Appeal Division (RAD), a processing target of setting hearings down within sixty days, and limited access to H&C; applications and pre removal risk assessments (PRRA) for certain classes of claimants, to list but a few.There is bound to be much information circulated about these potential amendments but until they are law be careful not be to be mislead by those who may see this as an opportunity to exploit people.