Individuals who make claims for protection in Canada are diverted to a parallel process of immigration and removal, which often does not apply to other foreign nationals or prospective immigrants. As a result, if a failed refugee wishes to return to Canada there are a number of steps they may need to take in order to return. We have summarized some of the relevant considerations below:
(1) Determine whether the removal order issued against you is a deportation order:
As soon as anyone makes a claim for protection in Canada a conditional removal order is issued against them. This removal order becomes unconditional as soon as a claim for protection is refused. However, the removal order may not be enforceable at this time. For instance of the refusal is challenged to the Refugee Appeal Division and subsequently refused and this refusal is challenged to the Federal Court, the removal order is not enforceable, and is stayed, until the final negative determination of that body. This is important because an individual has 30 days to depart Canada from the date the removal order becomes enforceable.
The removal order could also be stayed if the individual has the right to a Pre Removal Risk Assessment. If the PRRA were rejected, they would have 30 days to depart Canada from the date of the refusal before the removal order became a deportation order.
(2) If you did depart Canada within the 30 days did you do so in the manner required?
While departure within the 30 days is necessary, it also must be completed in a certain manner within the 30 days. Specifically the departure must result in an enforced removal order. This occurs when the individual concerned appears before an Officer at a Port of Entry to verify departure; obtains a certificate of departure from the Officer; departs from Canada AND is authorized to enter their country of destination.
If an individual does not comply with the above before they leave Canada, then they must, within the 30 day period have the removal order enforced outside Canada.
(3) Do I need an ARC?
If an individual either did not leave within the 30 days required or did leave, but never had the removal order enforced, then in order to return they would require an Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC). This is an application one must file with another type of entry visa at the relevant Visa Office or Embassy for the individual concerned. ARC applications are determined based on an individual's compelling need to come to Canada, their behaviour while in Canada including their previous cooperation with removal and payment of their own airfare home, and the lack of any criminal or security related issues regarding their file.
(4) What if I return without an ARC?
If you return without an ARC you will not be allowed into Canada. The Officer at the border will inform you that you do not have a right to enter Canada and are not authorized to enter or remain in Canada. Please note that this will happen even if you attempt to enter from a visa exempt country and if you have an Electronic Travel Authorization. If the Border Officer becomes aware that you had a deportation order issued against you and you require an ARC to return and you do not have the ARC, they will not let you enter Canada and will either detain you for or a short or long period until travel arrangements can be made depending on the circumstances of your case.