Canada tightens refugee claims from safe countries

Canada has expanded the list of countries deemed safe, and the refugee claimants from those countries will be processed faster. Unsuccessful applicants will be deported from Canada.

Minister Kenney explained: “Our new system provides protection more quickly to genuine refugees, while removing individuals whose claims are rejected from the country faster.”

Safe countries are democratic countries that offer state protection, have active human rights and civil society organizations, and do not normally produce refugees. Among the 35 safe countries are mostly countries of the European Union, including Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary.

Under the new refugee system, all eligible asylum claimants from designated countries continue to receive a full and fair hearing on the individual merits of their claims at the independent, quasi-judicial Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) within 30-45 days. Claimants from non-designated countries receive a hearing within 60 days. Failed claimants from designated countries may still appeal to the Federal Court to review a negative decision; however, they do not have access to the newly-created Refugee Appeal Division at the IRB.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, has recognized that “there are indeed Safe Countries of Origin and there are indeed countries in which there is a presumption that refugee claims will probably be not as strong as in other countries.” He has also recognized the legitimacy of providing expedited processing for asylum claimants from those generally safe countries.

Canada admits over two hundred thousand legitimate immigrants and refugees annually. Detailed information about immigration, visit, work, study, and acquiring Canadian citizenship can be found on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website at