What Happens When a Refugee Claim is Denied

How to Fight A Removal Order

When arriving in Canada as a refugee, often your worst fear is being sent back home to face violent and unstable living conditions. So, if your refugee claim is denied and a removal order is issued, it can feel as if your worst nightmare is coming to life.

Fortunately, there are ways to fight a removal order and remain in Canada. Keep reading to learn more about this process.

What Happens If Your Refugee Claim is Denied

In the event that your refugee claim is denied by a judge, a removal order requiring you to leave the country is typically issued.

There are three different types of removal orders, each with its own terms and conditions.

Departure Order

When a Departure Order is issued, you must leave Canada within 30 days after the order takes effect.

However, if you do not challenge your departure order and comply with its requirements, there is a chance that you may return to Canada at some point in the future if you meet the entry requirements at that time.

If you leave Canada after the 30-day period, or do not confirm your departure with Canada Border Services Agency, your Departure Order will automatically become a Deportation Order.

If this occurs, you will only be able to return to Canada in the future by obtaining an Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC).

Exclusion Order

An Exclusion Order is different from a departure order in that you cannot return to Canada for one year if one is issued.

If you wish to return before the 12 months have passed, you must apply for an ARC.

However, if an exclusion order was issued due to misrepresentation in your refugee application, you won’t be able to return to Canada for five years.

Deportation Order

A Deportation Order is the most serious removal order of the three and carries the heaviest consequence. Not only does a deportation order require you to leave the country, but it permanently bars you from ever returning to Canada unless you apply for an ARC.

Steps to Take If You Have Been Issued a Removal Order

While there are different channels you can take in hopes of having your removal order overturned, time is of the essence.

So, if you find yourself in a position where a removal order has been issued against you, it’s important to act quickly, as you often only have two weeks or less to take action before your date of removal.

You won’t be able to overturn a removal order cannot appeal a removal order if you have:

  • Come to Canada fraudulently
  • Have been involved in organized crime
  • Have been convicted of a serious crime and sentenced to more than two years in prison
  • Are deemed a security threat to Canada
  • Have violated international or human rights in any way

If none of the above criteria apply to you, here are the steps you should follow if you are issued a removal order.

Hire A Lawyer

If you plan to fight your removal order, the first – and most important – thing you must do is hire an immigration lawyer.

These types of situations are extremely complex, time-sensitive, and far too important to handle on your own.

An immigration lawyer will explain to you your options for fighting your removal order and fight on your behalf to ensure you are able to remain in Canada.


If you received a negative decision on your refugee claim and were issued a removal order, you may be able to appeal to the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) at the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). Speak to your lawyer to find out if you are eligible for an appeal.

Head over to our recent blog article to learn more about the refugee appeal process.

Pre-Removal Risk Assessment

Those who have been issued a removal order may also be eligible for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA).

A PRRA is a written application allowing you to explain why you’re afraid to return to your country and whether you would face immediate danger or risk of persecution. You must also provide documents that support these fears.

Your eligibility for a PRRA depends on several factors, such as:

  • If there is a removal order against you
  • You have made a refugee claim
  • How much time has passed since your refugee claim was rejected
  • Whether you have already made a refugee claim in another country that has an information-sharing agreement with Canada

If your PRRA is approved, you will be granted protected status and be able to apply for permanent residency in most cases.

Judicial Review

Another avenue for challenging a judge’s decision in your refugee case is to apply to the Federal Court for a Judicial Review.

Again, be sure to seek assistance from an immigration and refugee lawyer if you plan to ask for a judicial review.

The Judicial Review process requires your lawyer to attend a court hearing and explain why you believe that the original IRB decision was wrong and why you should be able to remain in Canada.

Your lawyer will be required to present an arguable case in order for the Court to grant leave and schedule a hearing.

Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds

If you have been issued a removal order, you may also be eligible to apply to stay in Canada on Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) grounds, unless certain restrictions apply to you.

If successful, this avenue will grant you permanent residency in Canada.

However, it’s important to note that H&C grounds are only successful in cases where your argument for staying in Canada is compelling enough based on all the relevant factors:

  • You have strong ties to Canada
  • You are financially stable or have financial assistance through family
  • You are integrated into Canadian society
  • You have family members living in Canada
  • You speak English and/or French
  • You are furthering your education in Canada
  • If you return to your home country, you would suffer hardship
  • You have no way to reintegrate your home country should you return
  • Your inability to leave Canada has led to your establishment in Canada
  • You have very unique and exceptional circumstances for wanting to remain in Canada

Another important thing to remember is that H&C decision makers do not consider risk factors like persecution, risk to life, or risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.

So, if you are in danger of any of the above risk factors by returning to your country of origin, speak with an immigration lawyer to determine the best course of action.