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What is a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment hearing and how do I prepare for one?

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What is a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment hearing and how do I prepare for one?

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What is a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment hearing and how do I prepare for one?
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Reviewed: 
October 17, 2019
Answer
This question only applies to people who are not eligible to make a refugee claim in Canada because:
  • they have come from a country that has an information sharing agreement with Canada, and
  • they made a refugee claim in that country before their arrival in Canada

The US, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK have an information sharing agreement with Canada. Even if you didn't have a refugee hearing or receive a negative decision, the fact that you made a refugee claim in one of those countries makes you ineligible to make a claim in Canada.

The US, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK share immigration and border services information about people that apply to enter any of these countries for immigration or refugee protection.

In most cases, if you're not eligible to make a refugee claim in Canada, you might be able to apply for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment. A PRRA is a written document where you explain why you're afraid to return to your country and you provide evidence to support your fear.

If you're found not eligible to make a refugee claim in Canada because you previously made a claim in the US, Australia, New Zealand, or the UK, your PRRA will follow different procedures than other PRRAs. 

Oral hearings

Unlike other PRRA applicants, you must have a PRRA hearing with an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) officer. This hearing is also called an interview.

You can have a lawyer or legal representative with you at the hearing. And ask for an interpreter if you need one. IRCC will provide an interpreter at no cost to you. If you have a disability or are a vulnerable person, you can write to the officer to ask for accommodations during your hearing.

You will receive a notice of hearing before your hearing that tells you the facts that you will be asked about at your hearing. Your legal representative can write to the officer to ask them to explain anything that is not clear in the notice. 

At your hearing, the officer will ask you questions about why you're afraid to return to your country and the evidence you have to support that fear. If your answers are different from other information you included with your PRRA, the officer might not believe you. If the officer has concerns, they must tell you what they are and give you a chance to explain.

After the hearing, you or your legal representative can provide the officer with a written summary of your case that includes legal arguments about why you're at risk.

The officer will review your PRRA form, written evidence, what you said at your oral hearing, and your legal arguments. The officer will then make a decision using the same legal test that the Refugee Board uses to decide if you meet the definition of a Convention refugee or a person in need of protection.

Get legal help

You should get legal advice right away if you're applying for a PRRA. A lawyer can help you complete your PRRA form, gather evidence about the risk you face if you're removed from Canada, and prepare you for your hearing. Your lawyer can explain your notice of hearing and the facts that the officer will ask you about.  

A lawyer can also go to your hearing with you, and then prepare a written summary of your case that includes legal arguments about why you are at risk.

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