Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA)
Persons in Canada under a removal order may be given the opportunity to complete a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA) before they are deported from Canada. The purpose of the PRRA is to assess whether the applicant faces a risk in their home country and as a result should not be deported there. In this sense, the PRRA is like a refugee claim since it assesses the same bases for risk as in a case before the refugee board, that is, whether the applicant faces a risk to their lives or safety in their home country due to political opinion, religion, race, nationality, or because they belong to a specific social group. The need for refugee protection can also be established if the applicant faces cruel and unusual treatment or punishment or torture in their home country, for any reason. In all cases the risk must be a personal one and not something faced by the population generally in the home country.
The PRRA may be proactively applied for, or it may be given directly to an individual facing removal by an immigration officer. Once received from an officer, the applicant has 15 days to complete and file the relevant forms, and 30 days to file any supporting documents and legal submissions. The application is made to the department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Once all documentation is received, it will typically take the immigration authorities several months to make a decision.
If the PRRA is approved, the applicant will be granted refugee protection in Canada and may apply for permanent residence on this basis. If the application is denied, the applicant’s removal from Canada will proceed. Note that an appeal to the Federal Court can be made within 15 days of the negative decision.
Unlike a refugee claim, the PRRA is usually decided based on a paper application, and without the need for a hearing. There are exceptions, including where there is a central issue of credibility, or the applicant is a refugee claimant found ineligible for having made a claim in another country prior to coming to Canada. In these cases a PRRA officer may convoke an interview with the applicant before making a decision.
Note that persons who made a refugee claim before the Refugee Protection Division and/or the Refugee Appeal Division may not apply for the PRRA unless at least one year has passed since their refugee claim was finally rejected.
The Law Office of Matthew Jeffery has many years of experience assisting clients to make Pre-Removal Risk Assessment applications. If you have been served with the PRRA, contact us without delay for immediate assistance.