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Refugee status cessation and PRs applying for citizenship

Discussion in 'Citizenship' started by dpenabill, Aug 5, 2015.

  1. There is another conference or forum at this site where refugee and protected person issues are addressed more specifically. I do not read those topics much and do not know to what extent there is, or is not, informed discussion regarding issues related to cessation of protected person status (I occasionally peruse discussions there, just to keep track of any potential news about cessation). I deliberately steer clear of participating in those discussions because I am not at all well informed about refugee issues and I try to stay close to what I know.

    I repeat it often: I am NO expert and I am especially NOT an expert in matters involving refugees. Far, far from it.

    This topic is fairly narrowly focused. It started as a Heads-UP warning . . . Indeed, this topic is something of an anomaly for me. I RELUCTANTLY came to this subject, and started this topic, a little over four years ago. That was in August 2015. That was nearly THREE years after the Harper government added cessation of protected person status to the list of events terminating Permanent Resident status. That was AFTER I noticed IAD and Federal Court decisions in which Refugee-PRs applying for citizenship were not only being DENIED citizenship, but losing PR status. That was after seeing some forum participants still advising ALL prospective citizenship applicants that it was better to apply with a valid passport, with no caveat at all for those who might be a Refugee-PR and who would put their status at RISK by obtaining their home country passport. At the time, it appeared that the help centre for CIC (this was before the name change to IRCC) was often, if not usually, similarly telling prospective citizenship applicants they should have a valid passport when they applied.

    Some forum reporting indicated that even some lawyers were likewise failing to make a distinction for Refugee-PRs.

    AND NO ONE in this forum, and it appeared almost no one anywhere, was warning Refugee-PRs, that they could lose their PR status just because they applied for a home country passport.

    NO ONE, no one anywhere it seemed, was warning Refugee-PRs that IF they had traveled to their home country, applying for citizenship could trigger a cessation inquiry potentially leading not just to their citizenship application being denied, but loss of PR status altogether.

    And by August 2015 the contrast between what was happening to Refugee-PRs applying for citizenship and the utter silence here, in conjunction with commonly offered bad advice to obtain a passport, I felt obligated to at least bring the subject up and help others be aware of the RISKS, of this rather serious pitfall. So I started this topic. And of course, if I am going to comment I make a concerted effort to do the homework, to get informed, to understand the system and the process.

    But in doing the latter I have not wandered much into refugee issues other than this one narrow issue: what can lead to a cessation inquiry and potential loss of protected person status, which since 2012 AUTOMATICALLY terminates PR status. Of course doing this has required doing some homework into a few related collateral matters and of course to become familiar with the context in which these issues arise.

    BUT this is not a topic for discussing refugee issues generally. Not even for discussing cessation of protected person status for refugees who have not obtained PR status. Of course the grounds and issues overlap, so much of the discussion here about cessation applies, as well, to refugees who are not PRs . . . but there are many other issues for refugees who are not PRs beyond what this topic is about.

    Finally, REMEMBER, that cessation policy is basically the application and enforcement of UNHCR policy and rules. Section 108 is almost verbatim the same as the comparable UNHCR provisions.

    What is different is that beginning in 2012, Canada suddenly started enforcing cessation against PRs who had obtained PR status as a refugee. In fact, part of why this change in law was so utterly shocking was that the Harper government then proceeded with the process to terminate the PR status of PRs who had traveled to their home country WHEN DOING SO WAS IN NO WAY RESTRICTED BY CANADIAN LAW, when there was NO HINT doing so might in any way jeopardize their PR status. This was about as close to a penalty applied retroactively as one will ever see. PRs punished based on a change in law in 2012 for activities done YEARS BEFORE 2012. For example, one of the more high profile cases was against a PR in 2013 or 2014 on reavailment grounds based on trips to the home country a DECADE before the law changed.


    ALL THAT SAID . . .

    ALL THAT SAID . . . I am not quite sure what you are asking. Whether or not a refugee can return to live in the country where he or she was living before fleeing, or is the refugee's home country, mostly depends on whether that country allows the individual to return home. The answer to that question is rooted in the OTHER COUNTRY's LAWS and RULES . . . NOT Canadian law or rules.

    There is no law which requires Canadian PRs or refugees to stay in Canada. They can leave and live anywhere else in the world they want, SO FAR AS CANADIAN LAW goes. (To keep status in Canada they must of course still meet their obligations under Canadian rules.)

    Otherwise, as I tried to address in my previous post, if conditions change in the home country, or in the country the refugee fled from, so that it is safe to return and live there, the law works differently DEPENDING on what type of refugee the individual is (which gets into questions I do not know the answer to) and DEPENDING on whether the refugee has Canadian PR status. Section 108(1)(e) allows for the cessation of refugee status where "the reasons for which the person sought refugee protection have ceased to exist." But cessation on that ground has NO effect on a refugee who is also a Canadian PR.
     
  2. Quick update. Today i finally received my gcms notes. Everything looks normal however i noticed that it says my application status is on hold. Status reason is blank. So I'm wondering whether its being on hold has anything to do with investigation and action regarding cessation or referral to any other govt body as it is not indicated anywhere on the report. The government website for IRCC indicates that when such actions to investigate eligibility of citizenship ate done the gcms status is set to on hold and the reason set to suspended. In my case the reason was not, so I'm confused.
    It says prohibition, residence clearance is pending probably because file is om hold. Criminality passed as it was probably done before the test. Knowledge and language passed from test obviously. Thats it.
    It gives me a bit of insight. Since Feb nothing has been done on my file! Woow. Could be in for a long wait.
    Meanwhile i applied for à PR card renewal. I wonder if it will be affected by this. Anyone who can help me with my concerns? Thanks
     
  3. As I have oft said, I am NOT an expert. I cannot offer any real help. I very much doubt anyone here can offer any real help other than to reiterate that the best help you can probably obtain would be from a competent lawyer with experience in refugee and cessation matters.


    Application for a new PR card:

    My sense is that it would have been better to consult with a lawyer BEFORE making an application for a new PR card, there being no need to rush to obtain a new PR card. But you have, so . . . yes, please keep us advised about how that goes.

    I do NOT know, for example, to what extent an application for a new PR card might elevate the risk of triggering a decision to proceed with cessation. A PR does NOT need to have a valid PR card. At this juncture you should NOT be traveling abroad anyway (at least certainly NOT traveling abroad using the home country passport), so you do not need a PR card for that. And some provinces (at least Ontario) allow PRs to present expired PR cards, for up to five years after the card expired, to show status for obtaining provincial health care (and it seems that OHIP might not even ask to see proof of immigration status when the OHIP card is due for renewal).

    In any event, please let us know how that goes.


    Some Additional Observations (which, to a significant extent, restate what has been stated before):

    It continues to be impossible for us to precisely KNOW what your situation is or how much your status to stay in Canada is at risk. Unfortunately, however, the appearance of some kind of "hold" is NOT good news. Not certain it is about waiting for CBSA or Public Safety to conduct an inquiry into potential cessation, but that appears to be a rather likely suspect.

    As I have suggested multiple times before, this is a situation which suggests you could use competent, professional advice and probably assistance, from a lawyer experienced with refugee matters and with cessation issues in particular. At the least, an in-depth consultation with a lawyer with whom you can share and explain ALL the relevant details CONFIDENTIALLY . . . so that you can be totally honest and be certain to let the lawyer know any and all facts or circumstances which could hurt your case, so the lawyer can help you be fully prepared to address a cessation proceeding if one is commenced.

    It is difficult to discuss this without risking extreme implications. On one hand, I wish to avoid unnecessarily causing alarm. Even assuming the hold is about cessation, for example, as long as it is a hold while an inquiry is pending, that does NOT mean CBSA or Public Safety will actually decide to proceed with a cessation case. A month or year or two years from now, maybe this coming week, you could be back on track to be scheduled to take the oath. BUT . . .

    On the other hand, however, again assuming the hold is about cessation, and an inquiry is pending, given the combination of obtaining the home country passport, using it, and traveling to the home country, there is a RISK you will be subject to cessation proceedings, and the consequences of that can mean losing all status to remain in Canada.

    Obviously it is better if you stopped traveling using the passport, or using the passport for any purpose, and for certain have not revisited the home country in the meantime. That may not be enough to avoid cessation proceedings but it could have influence in making the defense that there were compelling reasons or innocent explanations for obtaining the passport and the travel to the home country, that your actions should not be interpreted to mean you have reavailed yourself of the home country's protection.

    Remember, there is a PRESUMPTION of reavailment based on the act of merely obtaining a home country passport. So being prepared to present a persuasive defense that there are compelling reasons and innocent explanations for your actions is your best chance, perhaps your only chance, to avoid cessation, if CBSA or Public Safety commence cessation proceedings. In most immigration matters a lawyer is not important let alone necessary. BUT if cessation proceedings are commenced, this is an immigration matter which virtually demands a lawyer's help; cessation has such draconian consequences, and last I have seen there is still NO H&C relief available, and it is likely to be very tricky navigating the nuances of making the case that there was no reavailment despite a presumption of reavailment in conjunction with additional actions suggesting reavailment (travel using the passport, and especially travel to the home country).

    I know you have said you cannot afford a lawyer. I am not well acquainted with organizations in Canada that will help those who cannot afford lawyers, but I believe there are some. But I do know that if cessation proceedings are commenced, and if living in Canada is a high priority for you, it would be prudent to do everything you can to get the help of a lawyer . . . and the prospect of a cessation action at this stage warrants pursuing what you can, everything you can do, to get a lawyer SOONER rather than later.

    The situation does not appear to have changed much since one of my earlier responses to you (partial quote with link below) . . . back in February. Except the recent indication in GCMS notes that there is indeed some kind of "hold" on your citizenship application.

    I suppose you can wait to see how the PR card application goes . . . but if you see that go into non-routine processing, I'd take that to be a sign to LAWYER-UP SOON.

    I wish you good luck . . . and again I hope you keep the forum advised about how things go.

    Just a February reminder:

     
  4. I’m not sure if this will be a good idea. But how about talking to your MP’s office regarding this? MPs’ offices help with immigration matters.
     
  5. #470 Kambs16, Nov 8, 2019 at 9:27 PM
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
    Thanks for those words. I applied for a PR card because i assumed I'm still entitled to one and it is valid for 5 years within which 5 years i have a right to travel as any other pr. It can also be used in conjunction with a refugee travel document. Besides there is nothing new. If a case has already been opened against me then its the same info and same office. Can they make cessation proceedings twice? Makes no sense. If they have not, then well they still got thr same info i already declared that i went to my home country on citizen application and have been grilled about it already
    To be honest I've now opened my mind and prepared for the possibility of cessation so it shouldn't come as an alarm if and when it does. However what is there to remember is that the atip report doesn't say suspended..and anything in which CBSA is involved requires photocopies of all pages of the passport, which was not requested, unless that stage is yet to come. Who knows? We are just guessing. I also declared i was out of the country for a little over 6 months (not to my home country) and i failed to obtain police clearance for that country. Perhaps that could put application on hold pending that..not sure. Shouldn't any action or requests being undertaken by IRCC with CBSA or RPD show up on the notes? I thought the notes are thorough.
    Definitely precautions need to be taken. I agree.
     
  6. As for a lawyer, i feel it would make more sense to acquire one should proceedings of cessation be brought against me. More prudent. Besides at this point they cannot change anything nor can they advise on action to take on my side. Because nothing is required of me yet by IRCC
     
  7. We do not know. That's true.

    We are not just guessing, however, but surveying more or less likely probabilities based on known information and some key facts. There is a big gap between having some idea about what could be happening and knowing with confidence, but that is more than merely guessing.

    BUT yes, the failure to obtain a police clearance for a country you were in for more than six months could also be among the 'usual suspects,' as one might say, for a delay in processing, including a "hold." There could be a referral pending to CSIS or an overseas visa office to verify there are no prohibitions. That said, if you have affirmed there are no criminal convictions or charges pending in any country, and they have not requested a police certificate from that country, not sure that suggests a "hold."

    Which leads to . . .
    "Shouldn't any action or requests being undertaken by IRCC with CBSA or RPD show up on the notes? I thought the notes are thorough."​

    No, the copy of GCMS notes sent to citizenship applicants is far, far from thorough. This is something that I have often emphasized. I am not sure how familiar you are with data base software, and of course I am not particularly familiar with the actual data base software used in conjunction with GCMS, but even the most rudimentary data base software uses 'fields' of information, and facilitates generating various types of "reports" based on template-like report formats, generating different reports that are populated by selected fields of information . . . and we are aware, for example, that how GCMS populates some fields in the report copy shared with clients is coded, including some default codes, some null fields even if in the data base itself there is information populating that field, and generally that more than a little information is NOT shared.

    There are other topics in this forum where there is more than a little discussion about interpreting client shared GCMS notes. To me this is akin to reading tea leaves. Some of the information, and its meaning, is clear. But that is almost always information the applicant knows or with a little reasoning could easily figure out without obtaining the GCMS notes. Some of the information is, again, coded, and sometimes this is cryptic, vague, indefinite, or as I indicated, some is a default code and thus not indicating much about the applicant's file.

    There are reasons for requesting GCMS notes. So I do not entirely dismiss the efficacy of requesting them. BUT generally, in most cases, they are rather uninformative and a wasted effort.

    Which brings this around to the note or entry that indicates processing your application is on "hold." Versus, say, "suspended."

    This could lead to a tangent way off into the weeds. But, for now, suffice it to acknowledge that there appears to be a great deal of leeway and discretion to simply NOT be processing an application while waiting on another government entity's action . . . such as waiting on a referral to CBSA or Public Safety to decide whether to pursue cessation. This may not fit the provisions which the Harper government added (part of Bill C-24 as I recall) to the Citizenship Act specifically giving CIC/IRCC authority to "suspend" processing applications in regards to certain types of pending inquiries or determinations (mostly having to do with either security issues or prohibitions). But there is still NO provision which imposes any kind of timeline, or any provision prohibiting IRCC from sitting on an application pending this or that determination with no schedule or timeline for making that determination.

    And it is not likely the generic GCMS records request will illuminate much, if anything, about this, including whether this is happening or something else is happening.

    It is possible to make a customized request for personal information which MIGHT reveal significantly more information. If it was known that lawyers were experienced and skilled in doing this, that would be a reason to go to a lawyer, so the lawyer could help do what might be called "discovery" in other adjudicatory contexts. I do not know if Canadian immigration lawyers do this sort of thing or are any good at doing it. Not much suggests optimism in this regard.

    Bottom-line, regarding the GCMS notes, NO, they are NOT thorough, and are not a particularly useful source of information.

    "I applied for a PR card because i assumed I'm still entitled to one and it is valid for 5 years within which 5 years i have a right to travel as any other pr. It can also be used in conjunction with a refugee travel document. Besides there is nothing new. If a case has already been opened against me then its the same info and same office. Can they make cessation proceedings twice? Makes no sense. If they have not, then well they still got thr same info i already declared that i went to my home country on citizen application and have been grilled about it already"​

    There is a difference between having a right to travel versus engaging in activities which might increase the risk of triggering negative actions. Yes, a PR card can be used in conjunction with a refugee travel document. And THAT IS THE ONLY TRAVEL DOCUMENT a refugee should be using to travel abroad (note the PR card is not really a travel document; it is a status document). The thing to avoid, to really, really avoid, is using the home country passport for travel to anywhere. Presenting the home country passport to a country upon entering that country is an overt act relying on the protection of the home country, otherwise referred to as "reavailment," as in grounds for cessation.

    It is true that making the PR card application does not introduce any new facts or circumstances, and in the abstract does not change any elements in the equation.

    And its done anyway; application made. No need to wrestle with whether or not, or to what extent, a new transaction with IRCC (like applying for a new PR card) might lead to someone taking action on a file that was otherwise dormant. Or whether that risk is outweighed by a desire to get this sorted out, to find out what CBSA or Public Safety will decide to do (if there is indeed a referral for a cessation inquiry).

    Note, it is NOT IRCC that decides whether to engage in a formal cessation investigation or commence cessation proceedings. That is either CBSA or Public Safety. All IRCC does is refer a case to CBSA or Public Safety, for that agency to make an inquiry and decide whether to formally investigate, and then to decide whether to initiate cessation proceedings.

    Which finally brings this around to the right Canadians have to obtain copies of personal information held by government entities. The ATIP request process. I am hesitant to bring it up, largely because I lean toward a stay-below-the-radar approach, as much as possible, what others might describe as let-sleeping-dogs-lie. BUT if you really want to know if CBSA is investigating whether to pursue cessation, perhaps even some idea what stage of inquiry things are at, it MAY be possible (not sure, but to some extent possible) to submit a customized ATIP request to CBSA and get some real information. Doing this in a way which is likely to generate real information would NOT be easy. The request would need to be carefully composed in such a way it would require divulging related information which is not confidential. So it would be tricky. And, moreover, it would be, in a sense, poking-a-stick-at-the-beast (the "beast" being cessation).

    You have made the PR card application. For now probably a good idea to wait to see how that goes. If you are issued and mailed a new PR card routinely, which these days appears to happen quite quickly, that could be a very good sign. Otherwise . . . well, there will be time to survey the road ahead if and when you arrive at that vantage point.
     
  8. Thanks dpenabill

    I dont see any issue with the PR card from my point of view. There is no new facts or information. I have already faced a gruelling interview and there are no new discoveries. At best they will just give it to me and see what i want to use it for and then go from there. It would probably be a good bait for them so would be in their interest then.
    I will let you know how it goes. My life has to continue.
    To be honest i have gotten weary of waiting and will not make any more calls or inquiries. I will start preparing myself for any outcome. I find lawyers a waste of time and money until your status in Canada is evidently at risk. In my case i will wait for any such communication then seek legal advise. To date, 9 months after my test i have never recieved any such communication so let ignorance be bliss. I might be tempted though to get the CBSA notes out of curiosity. These took a pretty short time.
     

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