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IRCC releases new permanent residence pathway for air disasters victims’ families

Grievances evoked by recent air disasters have engaged attention from Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). On May 13, 2021, the Honourable Marco Mendicino, IRCC’s Minister, announced the launch of a permanent residence pathway for families of air disaster victims. All standard application requirements apply and the pathway will remain open until May 11, 2022.

  • On March 10th, 2019, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 (ET302) crashed near Bishoftu town, Ethiopia, depriving the lives of 157 passengers;
  • On January 8th, 2020, Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 (PS752), was taken down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile in Tehran, resulting in the unfortunate death of 176 passengers.

These two distressing incidents, along with many others, claimed numerous lives of our fellow Canadians. The Canadian Federal Government stands in solidarity with those whose lives are devastated by air disasters.

Who qualifies to apply?

The main applicant must identify as a family member of a victim of flight ET302 or PS752, and satisfy the following criteria:

  • must currently reside in Canada;
  • eligible for all requirements to enter the Canadian border;
  • not deemed as “inadmissible”, unless granted exceptions by pertinent public policies.

In addition, the applicant must also satisfy one of the following criteria:

  • Obtained a valid temporary resident status when the air disaster occurred;
  • Applied for temporary residence after the air disaster occurred and received temporary residence before March 23th, 2021;
  • Claimed as a refugee on the day or after the air disaster; or
  • Qualifies as a beneficiary under the 2020 or 2021 public policy for victims’ families of PS752.

The applicant(s) must be in Canada when applying for and receiving permanent residency.

All standard application fees and biometrics apply to this pathway. The applicant is still eligible for permanent residency even if his/her temporary status has expired.

Family members of air disaster victims

To qualify as an applicant, one must identify his/her family relationship with the victim, including:

  • Spouse or common-law partner*;
  • Child;
  • Parent;
  • Grandparent;
  • Grandchild;
  • Sibling (including half-siblings);
  • Aunt or uncle (from either one of the victim’s parents);
  • Nephew or niece (of the victim’s siblings).

*The family members of the victim’s spouse or common-law partner are also qualified as principle applicants.

Those who can be included as dependents in permanent residence applications must be admissible to Canada. Furthermore, they must fulfill the requirements specified by the Immigration Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). Unfortunately, family members of the principal applicants who currently reside outside of Canada cannot be included in the application. In regards to these family members, IRCC is devising new policies, and will promptly announce the policies once they are finalized.

Other important immigration tips

One is exempt from inadmissibility if one:

  • Failed to provide a visa or other documents required by the Canadian Immigration Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR);
  • Failed to comply with temporary residence requirements, e.g. visa, visiting record, work permit, student permit, or temporary resident permit;
  • Worked or studied in Canada without permission from the IRPA.
If the applicant claimed refugee status prior to applying through the new pathway, the claim must satisfy the following:
  • The claim has the eligibility to be referred to the Immigration Refugee Board (IRB);
  • Applicants did not withdraw the claim unless done so immediately before the announcement of the new pathway;
  • Applicants did not abandon the claim;
  • IRB did not perceive the claim as manifestly unfounded (MUC) or with no credible basis (NCB);
  • The claim did not violate Article 1F of the Refugee Convention; and
  • IRB did not cease or vacate the claim.
Those applicants who expect the approval of their refugee status claim, or in the middle of refugee appeal, must revoke their application or appeal from the IRB. If the applicant fails to do so, then the process will proceed and the application submitted via the new pathway will be rejected.

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