Federal government payment to refugees plan undeserved

According to this article in the Calgary Herald, the Canadian government’s new plan to provide a payment to refugees whose claims fail in Canada as an incentive to leave the country is getting some undeserved flack from critics.

In the new Balanced Refugee Reform Act that is set to take effect in 2012, the federal government will purchase plane tickets and provide refugees with up to $2,000 in order to leave Canada, with the stipulation that the money is used for work training or education back home.

One thing that seems to be missed in these criticisms is that:

If the refugees take the $2,000, they can go home and re-apply for refugee status in Canada.

If the refugees do not take the $2,000 and are later caught and deported, they may never re-apply for refugee status in Canada.

Countries such as England and Australia have a similar programs in place, which have been highly successful. Critics have suggested simply detaining and deporting failed refugees right away, but this would cost a staggeringly high amount – much more than $2,000 per refugee, as the number of failed refugees in Canada after seven years (the length of the appeals process) would be five times higher than the number of people in Canada’s prisons. One prisoner in Canada costs about $92,000 per year.

One more criticism is that a failed refugee claim seems like an easy way to make $2,000 – which simply isn’t true, considering the costs and sacrifices – emotional, physical and financial – a refugee must make to come to Canada are worth far more than $2,000.

Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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