Refugee Law Office Makes Sense of Numbers

Statistics Tell a Powerful Story, Says Canadian Immigration Lawyer

Statistics on the refugees that Canada welcomes, where they come from, and how many are accepted, are both interesting and enlightening for Canadian immigration lawyers. These are more than just numbers—they tell a story, both of international conflict and Canada’s changing policies. It doesn’t take a Canadian immigration lawyer to see the stories behind the numbers, either. Just see for yourself.

Over the past decade, the average number of refugees arriving in Canada annually was 26,000, with an annual average of 11,000 successfully claiming refugee status, some with the assistance of a refugee law office, and 4,000 being privately sponsored. Overall, from 2005 to 2014, about 150,000 refugees and their dependents gained permanent residency, according to a CBC News article.

Correlations with Conflict

Of course, the main focus in this issue has been the international refugee crisis that continues to develop, and particularly the very large number of Syrian people who have been displaced by their country’s civil war. Other countries that have contributed large numbers of refugees over the past decade have included Colombia, Iraq, China, and Mexico. Colombia came out in the lead for the whole decade, a result of an ongoing conflict that within its borders since the 1960s. In 2014, Iraq was the highest, with 2,890 refugees admitted, while in recent years, the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) has given its highest acceptance rates to refugee claimants from China.

The IRB reviews cases of refugee claimants who are deemed eligible by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Here they may enlist the help of a refugee law office, which will provide experience to help build a stronger case for acceptance.

Correlations with Policy

Canadian immigration lawyers and officials have also noted that the available data reflects Canada’s changing laws and policies. For example, after peaking at 9,500 claimants in 2008, the number of claimants from Mexico has decreased ever since, coinciding with Canada’s decision to require visas from Mexican citizens, and making it more difficult to arrive by conventional means for those under threat.

Much to the chagrin of many a refugee law office, another policy change, introduced in 2012, created a “Designated Country of Origin” list that declared certain countries as safe enough that refugee claims from said countries were expedited and barred from appeals. It was believed by some that this policy was ill-informed—as despite its implementation, listed countries such as Hungary and the Slovak Republic have still produced high numbers of refugee claimants (14th and 12th overall, respectively)—and the policy was eventually ruled unconstitutional by the Federal Court. Hopefully with the change to a new government and possible changes to Canadian refugee policies, claimants who are fleeing persecution from all countries will see more opportunities for fair consideration with the help of Canadian immigration lawyers.