Canada launches new fast-track system for processing refugee claims

Canada launches new fast-track system for processing refugee claims

NEWS: SAUDI TEEN DELIVERS PUBLIC STATEMENT AFTER ARRIVAL IN CANADAX

Rahaf Mohammed, the young Saudi woman who was granted asylum in Canada, spoke to the media about settling in her new home. But the story of another Saudi in Canada is making news, too, Mike Le Couteur reports.

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Starting this week, many of the more than 64,000 asylum seekers in Canada waiting for their cases to be heard could be eligible for a new fast-tracked approach to processing refugee claims, Global News has learned.

Documents released exclusively to Global News by Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) describe the new streamlined process as a “strategic” effort to better allocate the Board’s resources.

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The new procedures affect “less complex” cases and include rules for paper-based handling of claims — meaning the claimant wouldn’t need to appear in person before a refugee judge — and a new “short-hearing” process, which is supposed to take two hours or less.

To facilitate the new system, the IRB has created a list of countries and claim types which it “generally considers as appropriate” for processing under these new rules.

READ MORE: Former UN human rights chief calls Canada’s handling of child refugees ‘inhumane’

The list includes gender- and aged-based claims from Iran, extortion and kidnapping cases from Libya, religious-based claims from Pakistan and cases of political or military opposition from Sudan.

Any women from Saudi Arabia who are at risk because they are “female” are also eligible for the new paper-based process, as are certain types of cases from countries such as Venezuela, Turkey, Egypt, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

What criteria was used?

According to the IRB, countries or claim types with an acceptance rate of 80 per cent or higher are eligible for the new paper-based — or “file-review” — process.

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