Overseas Protection

AuthorSasha Baglay/Martin Jones
There are two main routes for obtaining refugee protection in Canada:
(1) inland refugee determination (see Chapter 8) and (2) resettlement
from overseas. Despite the cur rent prevalence of inland asylum claims
over applications for protection from overseas, Canada continues to
play an important par t in global resettlement, including through its
participation in the res ettlement program of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Between 1995 and 2005, Can-
ada resettled, on average, ten thousand ref ugees annually.1 Since 2005,
the numbers have somewhat increased to between ten and twelve thou-
sand annually.2 As one of twenty-seven states participat ing in the UNH-
CR resett lement program,3 Canada usually ranks among the top three
1 Immigrat ion, Refugees and Citizen ship Canada, “Facts & Figure s: Immigration
Overview 2 003” at 2, and “Facts & Figures: Immig ration Overview 200 4” at 2;
both online: I RCC www.cic.gc.ca.
2 Immigrat ion, Refugees and Citizen ship Canada, “Facts and Fig ures 2014 — Im-
migration Ove rview: Permanent Re sidents,” online: IRCC www.cic.gc.ca/english /
3 United Nations High Com missioner for Refugees, “Frequent ly Asked Ques-
tions about Res ettlement,” online: UNHCR ww w.unhcr.org/protect ion/
resettlement /524c31666/frequently-asked- questions-resettle ment.html. By 2013,
the following count ries had establishe d or announced establishme nt of resettle-
ment programs: A rgentina, Australia , Austria, Belgium, Bra zil, Bulgaria, Can a-
da, Chile, the C zech Republic, Denmark, Fin land, France, Germany, Hungar y,
recipients of resettled refugees in any g iven year.4 This high ra nking
is a testament both to the relatively large number of refugees resettled
by Canada and to the ver y small number of refugees resett led by most
other states. For example, in 2015, UNHCR estimated global resettle-
ment needs at nearly one million,5 but states part icipating in resettle-
ment programs accepted only slightly more than 100,000 refugees.
Despite being driven by the s ame humanitaria n ideals as inland
determination, resett lement possesses several peculiar character istics.
Resettlement applies only to individua ls outside of Canada. Applica-
tions are assessed by Immigration, Refugees a nd Citizenship Canada
(IRCC) off‌icers at Canadi an missions abroad and applicants must se-
cure referral from UNHCR or the support of a sponsor to assist in their
settlement in Canada. In addition, applicants must pass mandatory
medical, securit y, and crimina lity checks and generally demonstrate an
ability to become successfully e stablished in Canada. Ind ividuals who
are selected for resettlement are issued per manent resident visas and
become permanent residents upon ar rival in Canada. The resettlement
program is coordinated by t he federal government, except for Quebec
which, under the Canada –Quebec Accord, is re sponsible for its own re-
settlement process and admission targets.
Due to its design, resett lement is much more amenable to planning
and state control; it is often contrasted with t he more “spontaneous”
and “self-selected” nature of the inland claims. Unlike the numbers
of inland refugee claim s, which can f‌luctuate dramatically from year
to year in response to a va riety of factors in countries of origin and
destination, the numbers of re settled refugees usually remain relatively
constant over time. Every year, the Can adian government establishes
annual targets for resett lement. For example, annual imm igration plans
for 1996–2013 set a target of admitting between 10,000 and 12,000 or
10,000 and 14,000 refugees (as a rule, approximately 7,000 to 7,500 gov-
Iceland, Irela nd, Japan, Netherlands, New Ze aland, Norway, Portugal, Romani a,
Spain, Sweden, Swit zerland, United Kingdom, Ur uguay, and the United States.
Other countr ies also accept refugees for res ettlement, but on an ad hoc basis.
4 United Nations High C ommissioner for Refugees, UN HCR Statistical Yearbook
2001, UN HCR Statistical Yearbook 2002, UNHCR Statistical Yearbook 20 03, and
UNHCR Statistica l Yearbook 2004, online : UNHCR www.unhcr.org. For example,
Canada accept ed 10 percent of refugees resettled by i ndustrialized c ountries
during the 1992–20 01 period. Un ited Nations High Commissione r for Refu-
gees, UNHCR Globa l Trends 2010; 2011; 2012; 2013; 2014; online: UNHCR www.
unh cr.org .
5 United Nations High Com missioner for Refugees, “Refugee R esettlement Trends
2015,” online: UNHCR www.unhcr.org/prote ction/resettleme nt/559ce97f9/
unhcr-refugee-res ettlement-trends-2015.html.

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