Can A Refugee Become A Permanent Resident In Canada?

Learn how a refugee can become a permanent resident in Canada.

“Can a refugee become a permanent resident in Canada?”- a question often asked by foreign individuals running to Canada for protection. If yes, and if not- you will learn about it in this article.

Refugees are individuals who are at risk of harm, fear for their lives, and cannot get protection in their own country. Oftentimes, these foreign nationals come to Canada to seek refuge by applying for refugee protection at the immigration and refugee board of Canada. In this article, you will learn who a Canadian Refugee is, the types of refugees in Canada, the application for permanent residents, and the documents needed for your application. Keep reading!.

Who is a Canadian Refugee?

A refugee in Canada is an individual who is already in Canada or at the point of entry to Canada seeking protection from harm or danger. The refugee can claim for protection at the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRBC). However, in some cases like criminal issues or involving criminality, the immigration refugees and citizenship Canada (IRCC) can make the decision.

Types of refugees in Canada

Basically, there are different types of refugees in Canada. These refugees are stated and explained below.

  • Persons in Need of Protection
  • Convention Refugee
  • Country of Asylum Class

#1. Persons in Need of Protection

A Refugee will be considered as a person in need of protection if they are exiled from their own country, or if the country they live in is subjecting them to torture and there are at risk of unusual and cruel treatment or punishment. Also, in cases where the country they stay in is posing a risk to their life. And if the risk they are exposed to is not part of the legal penalties and is not caused by medical care or inadequate health.

#2. Convention Refugee

A conventional refugee is an individual who in fear of persecution is living outside their national country and cannot return because they cannot be protected within the country, or for the fear of persecution. This fear must be founded based on race, nationality, religion, political opinion, or membership in a given social group (majorly, if the group cannot be changed). Including past memberships, gender, sexual orientation, and groups they volunteer to join.

Note that persecution in any way includes sufferings like torture, death threats, imprisonment by guerillas, abusive husbands, and government or non-government agencies. If you’re making a refugee claim, you must demonstrate that you have no internal flight alternative. So, you have no place in your country where you can live safely and free from the challenges and situations you are facing.

Therefore, if you feel that you are a conventional refugee or a person in need of protection you may claim protection. You can do this once you are inside Canada or when you are about to enter the country. Note that if you’re outside Canada you should make an application under the Convention refugees abroad class.

#3. Country of Asylum Class

Basically, this is a type of refugee for individuals who are in a situation that calls for help, but are outside of Canada. This type of individuals do not qualify for the convention refugees, hence is considered a member of the country of asylum class.

Before you are considered as a member of this class, you will be assessed by the immigration officer to know if you are seriously affected by either armed conflict, civil war, or massive violation of Human Rights. After which you can apply for refugee status in Canada. However, you must have the fund to support yourself. But in case you can’t, you and your dependence can reach out to the United Nations High commissioner for refugees for help. You can also get support from organizations, or sponsorship from a private group.

Can A Refugee Become A Permanent Resident In Canada?         

Basically, on your way to becoming a permanent resident in Canada as a refugee, you must first receive a decision of approval from the immigration refugees and citizenship Canada or immigration and refugee board that approved your pre-removal risk assessment and certify your refugee claim. After which you gain the status of a protected person.

On your new status as a protected individual, you can apply for permanent residence in Canada. You have the freedom to include your children that is under 19 years of age and your spouse.

To apply for permanent residence in Canada, you and your dependence must not have a serious criminal record, serious communicable diseases, or criminal charges abroad or in Canada.Your status as a permanent resident means that you can remain in Canada permanently but you are not a citizen. So if you are a security risk or you violate the serious laws of Canada, you can loose your your permanent resident status.

Application for permanent residence

To apply for a permanent resident as a refugee you should submit your application to the immigration refugee and citizenship Canada. You can include all members of your family in your list. But any time,you can remove any of them.

The application involves that you fill and complete several forms as well as a generic application form.

Documents to be submitted for application

In addition to your application form, here are the other documents you should submit alongside your application.

  • Proof of personal identity (a photocopy) which could either be a travel document, birth certificate, or passport.
  • A copy of your PRRA or IRB decision.
  • If your document is not in English or French you must accompany it with a translation. However, if your translator is not a certified translator you must accompany your document with an affidavit.
  • Payment receipt.

Importantly, all your application documents must have the right signature before submission. If a refugee is either 18 years or above, they must sign and date the documents themselves. However, if the Refugee is less than 18 years of age the legal guardian or parent can sign on their behalf.

Rights of a permanent resident

Without a doubt, once you are a permanent resident in Canada, you will have the right to live, work, and study in Canada permanently. You will enjoy most of the rights given to Canadian citizens including the following.

  • Study, work, or live anywhere in any province or territory in Canada.
  • Have the Express opportunity to apply for Canadian citizenship.
  • Also, you will receive most of the social benefits including health care coverage that all Canadian citizens receive.
  • Likewise, you will get protection under Canadian law and enjoy all the rights of being a residence.

Despite the privileges given to permanent residents in Canada, there are limitations to individuals what they can do. In some cases, you will not be eligible to vote or run for any office in Canada. Also, you will not be eligible to apply for jobs that require a high-level security clearance. If you commit a grievous offence you can lose your permanent resident status. Hence, you will be deported from Canada.

However, you will face the same legal obligations as other Canadian citizens. These obligations include obeying the law and paying taxes. Note that you have to live in Canada for no less than two years for you to retain your status as a permanent resident. And if as a permanent resident, you have been in Canada for about 4 years you can proceed to apply as a citizen.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take refugees to become permanent residents in Canada?

Without a doubt, it will take up to four months for refugees to get their exit permits and visas. After getting travel documents, refugees can travel within three to six weeks.

Can refugees buy a house in Canada?

Basically, only foreigners who have become permanent residents are eligible to get a loan in Canada. If you are asylum, you might not be able to get a loan for a house in Canada.

What are the benefits of being a refugee in Canada?

There are many benefits for refugees in Canada, some of which are

  • Relief at the airport or port of entry;
  • Provisional accommodation and help to find lasting accommodation;
  • Cash to buy basic household items and clothing; and.
  • Information and aid to settle in Canada.

Can a failed refugee return to Canada?

Basically, if a refugee failed to become a permanent resident in Canada or is a failed refugee claimant, they will have to leave Canada within 30 days under the departure order. Failure to leave after the stipulated time will lead to a deportation order.

Can i work as a refugee in Canada?

Basically, you will not be able to take up a job in Canada as a refugee. However, when ypu obtain your work permit, you can the take up a job role. You can obtain a work permit at the Immigration, refugee and Citizenship Canada.


The Refugee can become a permanent resident in Canada provided that their claim is approved by the immigration refugee and citizenship Canada or immigration and refugee board.