Refugee Claimant vs Resettled Refugee

Photo: Anika Barlow

How are refugee claimants different from resettled refugees?

Asylum seekers arrive in Canada seeking refugee protection. As they enter Canada’s inland refugee determination system, refugee claimants are screened for security, identity, and flight risk. Refugee claimants often have no one to meet them, no housing in place, and few resources to support themselves.

While trying to meet basic needs and survive, refugee claimants enter the detailed and complex refugee protection process that leads toward the refugee hearing, where a determination is made whether they merit refugee protection or not. It can take months and sometimes years to reach this point. If they get protection, the person receives Convention Refugee or Person in Need of Protection status, which gives them safety. They then apply for Permanent Resident status. The whole process from arriving in Canada to receiving Permanent Residence can take 2-3 years, and sometimes longer.

During this time they have temporary resident status, need a work permit for employment, and have a Social Insurance Number that starts with “9” indicating temporary.

Resettled refugees (Privately Sponsored Refugees (PSRs) and Government Assisted Refugees (GARs)) are identified as refugees oversees and brought to Canada by Canadian citizens or by the Canadian government, respectively. When resettled refugees arrive in Canada they immediately receive Permanent Resident status and have housing and settlement support available to them.