Can I lose my refugee status?

1. Understand when the Minister might appeal

The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) can appeal the Refugee Board's decision to give you status at the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD). This doesn't happen very often.

The Minister must file a Notice of Appeal within 15 days of receiving the Notice of Decision and written reasons from the Refugee Board. The Minister must also give you a copy of the Notice so that you have a chance to respond. The Notice will be sent by mail to the address where you received the Refugee Board's decision.

When you receive the Minister's Notice, it's important to try to get legal help right away. A lawyer can help you prepare a Response. Also, as soon as you receive the Notice, write to the Refugee Board to ask for the audio recording of your hearing. You might need to refer to the audio recording in your Response.

The Minister must also file an Application Record with their supporting documents and legal arguments. This is called “perfecting the appeal”. They must do this within 30 days of receiving the written reasons from the Refugee Board.

You have 15 days to respond by filing a Response. Your Response can include:

  • an affidavit from you that explains why you should not lose your protected person status
  • a memorandum with the law and facts that you're relying on to support your response (the memorandum should also respond to any new documents the Minister may have included)
  • any new you have to respond to the Minister
  • a written statement or transcript that includes all or part of the audio recording of your refugee hearing that supports your response

If you miss the deadline, you must include an Application for an Extension of Time when you file your Response. You must give reasons why you couldn't file the Response on time.

This process is complicated, has short timelines, and has serious consequences.

If the RAD allows the Minister's appeal, you will lose your protected person status. You might be able to ask the Federal Court to review the decision. You must apply for judicial review within 15 days of receiving the order. As long as you apply in time, you can't be removed from Canada while your application is at the Federal Court.

Hide this website