If you're considering applying to immigrate to or seek refugee protection in Canada, it's essential to understand the key terms commonly used in this area of law. Immigration is complex and involves several steps that may be difficult to navigate for someone who does not have experience with the process.
Immigration law is a broad term that refers to all laws relating to people moving from one country to another. This includes people moving permanently or temporarily, refugees or asylum seekers seeking refuge in another country because they fear persecution in their home country. In this blog post, we review some of the most common acronyms that relate to immigration law.
Canadian Immigration & Refugee Acronyms - Public Bodies
CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency)
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is the administrative agency responsible for the flow of travellers and international trade.
IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada)
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is a federal government administrative body responsible for the arrival of immigrants, providing protection to refugees, and programs that help other foreign nationals settle in Canada. It is also responsible for granting citizenship and issuing Canadian travel documents.
IRPA (Immigration and Refugee Protection Act)
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) is the legislation that outlines the rules of immigration and refugee protection in Canada. Under the IRPA, the Minister has the authority to develop additional rules, which become part of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR). While the IRPA tends to stay the same, the IRPR are updated more easily and should be regularly consulted by the immigration professionals handling your matter.
IRB (Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada)
The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) is the largest administrative tribunal in Canada. It makes decisions pertaining to immigration and refugee matters to ensure fairness, efficiency, and compliance with the law. It also determines who gets refugee protection in Canada. The IRB is independent of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) but reports to Parliament through IRCC.
ID (Immigration Division)
The Immigration Division (ID) is the branch of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) that oversees hearings to determine whether a foreign national or permanent resident is admissible to enter and stay in Canada or if they should be removed. The ID takes action at the request of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) or the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). It also reviews the reasons for detention when a permanent resident or foreign national is detained.
IAD (Immigration Appeal Division)
The Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) is the branch of the IRB that hears appeals about immigration-related decisions. Specifically, the appeals it hears are as follows:
- Family class sponsorship applications refused by IRCC;
- Removal orders made against permanent residents;
- Permanent residents who have not fulfilled residency obligations; and
- Minister of Public Safety appeals of Immigration Division (ID) decisions where the person is not deemed inadmissible.
RPD (Refugee Protection Division)
The Refugee Protection Division (RPD) decides on claims made by refugees who are in Canada. This is the start of the refugee protection process for claims that have already been deemed eligible by the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB).
RAD (Refugee Appeal Division)
The Refugee Appeal Division makes decisions on appeals from the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) to allow or reject refugee protection claims. The RAD can change the RPD's decision, send the decision back to the RPD to be heard once more, or confirm the RPD's decision.
Canadian Immigration & Refugee Acronyms - Other Terms
CLB (Canadian Language Benchmark)
The Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) assesses the ability of newcomers to Canada to speak English or French.
FN (Foreign National)
H&C (Humanitarian and Compassionate [Grounds])
Humanitarian and compassionate grounds (H&C) is a means to enter Canada for those who do not qualify for other immigration programs. It is available in exceptional circumstances to those applying for permanent residence. H&C is not a viable option if refugee protection is required.
NOC (National Occupation Classification)
The National Occupation Classification (NOC) is a standardized system that classifies jobs. This is used to assess worker qualifications for those with experience outside of Canada.
PNP (Provincial Nominee Program)
The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is an immigration program available to individuals interested in settling in a particular province of Canada. Most provinces have programs for attracting workers with the requisite skills, education, and experience to contribute to the province's economy. It is a program for those who wish to obtain permanent residency in Canada.
POE (Port of Entry)
A port of entry (POE) is a legal place where individuals can enter Canada. The Government of Canada dictates POEs. It is the first airport or land crossing that you stop at in Canada. Every person is subject to examination at every POE, which usually requires the presentation of identification documents and will question you about your stay in Canada.
PR (Permanent Resident [Status])
PR. Although the initials "PR" stand for permanent resident, this term is commonly used to denote that an individual has permanent resident status in Canada. For instance, your friend may tell you, "I finally got my PR after applying a few months ago." Someone with PR is not a Canadian citizen.
TD (Temporary Resident)
Temporary residents (TR) are foreign nationals who have been authorized to enter Canada on a temporary basis.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.