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Free one-way plane ticket and $2,000: Tory plan pays failed refugee claimants to leave Canada

posted Jul 8, 2012, 11:23 PM by Milorad Borota   [ updated Jul 8, 2012, 11:24 PM ]
National Post Staff  Jul 5, 2012 – 3:30 PM ET | Last Updated: Jul 8, 2012 10:24 AM ET

The federal government will give some failed refugee claimants $2,000 and a free one-way plane ticket to expedite their departure from Canada under a new pilot program quietly launched last week.
The “Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration pilot program,” run by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the International Organization for Migration, promises failed claimants a voluntary return “with support, dignity and anonymity.”
“Should you choose to voluntarily leave, you may qualify for a new government program — the AVRR — that will help you travel to, and make a fresh start in, your home country.”
Those who qualify for the program, which will be trialled in the Greater Toronto Area, can get a free plane ticket back to their country and up to $2,000 in “reintegration assistance.” The CBSA’s website suggests the money can be used to go back to school or start up a business.
The program will allow up to 6,955 failed claimants to participate. There were 98,380 total refugee claimants living in Canada in 2010 and 15,073 were removed from the country that same year.
How much money a claimant receives depends on the appeal process they may have started following the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada’s initial rejection.
A claimant can receive $2,000 if they apply before going to a federal court to review the IRB’s decision, $1,500 if they haven’t applied for a pre-removal risk assessment and $1,000 if they already received a decision on that risk assessment.
The risk assessment looks at whether the applicant may be in danger if they return to their home country.
However, until July 13, applicants are eligible for the entire $2,000, even if they have filed appeals.