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Refugees - Designated Countries of Origin (DCOs)

December 15, 2012 is the magical date by which the new refugee reforms roll out. The whole process will see dramatic changes, from the moment a person files a refugee claim, to the hearing, and any appeals that follow.

One of the changes coming is expedited processing, and a lack of appeal, for people from Designated Countries of Origin. The government just released this list of countries today, consisting of 27 countries (25 of which are in the EU):

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovak Republic
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America

  • This list can be amended by the government at will.

    What does this mean? Well, if you are a National of one of these countries, and come to Canada to make a refugee claim, then this is what you face:
    • claim will be heard by the IRB (Immigration and Refugee Board) within 30-45 days depending on whether the claim was made inland or at a port of entry (non-DCO claims will be heard in 60 days)
    • no access to Refugee Appeal Division (RAD)
    • can file a Judicial Review (JR) application to the Federal Court (FC) but will not benefit from statutory stay of removal during this time
    The full news release is available here.

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