Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA) Applications

Note: Pursuant to the 2012 legislative changes to the Canadian refugee protection system, a failed refugee claimant must now generally wait one year after receiving a negative decision from the Immigration and Refugee Board to become eligible for a PRRA-notification.

This is essentially the last step prior to removal from Canada. According to the (unofficial) statistics, only approximately 3% of PRRA applications are approved, while 97% are refused. In reality then, this is a procedural step which simply delays the inevitable, namely, the scheduling of a removal date.

Generally speaking, the purpose of the PRRA application is to determine whether, upon removal to home country, an applicant will be exposed to risk of torture, or risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment, including the possibility of death. However, PRRA application is rather narrow in its scope. It is not an opportunity to re-argue a refugee claim. Rather, the Officer examines only new evidence which arose after the conclusion of the refugee hearing. New risks, per se, need not be demonstrated, however, if such arose, these should be definitely highlighted in detail. Generally speaking however, previously identified risks are sufficient as long as there is new evidence corroborating these risks. If this evidence pre-dates the refugee decision, an explanation must be provided why such evidence was not submitted at an earlier point.

Overall, if a refugee claim was refused because the Board doubted the applicant’s credibility, unless there exists new persuasive evidence corroborating the initial story, there is little point in filing a PRRA (with the exception of temporarily delaying the removal). If, on the other hand, a refugee claim was refused solely due to existence of state-protection, and the political situation in an applicant’s home country has significantly deteriorated since the refugee hearing, theoretically at least, the likelihood of success is better (albeit still low).