Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration pilot program
About the AVRR pilot program
Looking for help to return to your home country? You may qualify for assistance.
The Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) program is a Government of Canada pilot that provides support to unsuccessful refugee claimants in or around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) who voluntarily leave Canada.
The pilot is being carried out as a partnership between the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), a federal government agency, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), an intergovernmental organization.
What you need to know to participate in the AVRR
Why consider the AVRR?
If your refugee claim has been rejected by the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) and your appeals have failed, you must leave Canada. If you do not leave voluntarily, the CBSA must enforce your removal.
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. A voluntary return offers you a way to return home with support, dignity and anonymity.
The AVRR pilot program became operational on June 29, 2012, and applications are being accepted at this time.
What assistance is available?
If you qualify for the AVRR, you could be eligible to receive:
- a plane ticket home; and
- up to CAN$2,000 in reintegration assistance delivered in-kind, which can be used to help set up a business or go back to school.
How much assistance you receive will be based on a number of factors:
First, if you are a failed refugee claimant and received a decision prior to December 15, 2012, you are considered for up to $2,000 and the applicable amount depends on at which stage in the process you apply. Generally, the sooner you decide on a voluntary return, the more assistance you may be eligible to receive. Here's how it works:
- If you apply before filing an application for leave with the Federal Court of Canada (or if your application is discontinued), you can qualify for up to CAN$2,000 in reintegration assistance.
- However, if you only apply before submitting an application for a pre-removal risk assessment (or if your application is withdrawn), you would qualify for up to CAN$1,500.
- Finally, if you have already received a pre-removal risk assessment decision, you would qualify for up to CAN$1,000.
If you received a decision on your refugee claim after December 15, 2012, you may be affected by the new Designated Country of Origin (DCO)* provision. Review the DCO list to see if your home country has been designated. If you are an eligible AVRR participant from a DCO, you may qualify for cash support to assist with essential needs during your return trip and/or upon arrival: $500 for a single or primary participant and $200 for each additional non-Canadian family member to a maximum of $1,500.
|Single or primary AVRR participant||$500|
|Family (2 members)||$700|
|Family (3 members)||$900|
|Family (4 members)||$1,100|
|Family (5 members)||$1,300|
|Family (6 or more members)||$1,500|
If you are an eligible AVRR participant from a non-DCO, you (and each family member) may qualify for reintegration assistance up to a maximum of $2,000 per person, depending on the following:
- If you apply before filing an application to the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD), or if your application is discontinued, you may qualify for up to $2,000 in reintegration assistance.
- If you receive a negative RAD decision but do not file an Application for Leave and Judicial Review at Federal Court (or decide to discontinue the application), the amount is reduced to $1,500.
- Finally, if you already received a RAD or Federal Court decision, you may qualify for $1,000.
* More information on DCO is available on Citizenship and Immigration Canada's Web site.
Your participation in the AVRR is strictly voluntary. You may be eligible to participate in the AVRR pilot program if you:
- Are an unsuccessful refugee claimant who made a claim in or around the GTA. To view a list of eligible locations within the GTA, see Locations.
- Comply with all terms and conditions set by the Government of Canada during the refugee claim process.
- Complete an application for a new travel document if you do not have one. This will help ensure that your travel arrangements can be booked smoothly.
You will not qualify to participate if one of the following applies:
- You withdrew or abandoned your claim.
- Your claim was deemed to have had no credible basis.
- You are from a country subject to a temporary suspension of removals.
- You didn't comply with the terms and conditions set by the Government of Canada during the refugee claim process.
- You have a criminal record (minor or serious).
- You are inadmissible to Canada on the grounds of national security, human or international rights violations, or organized criminality.
- You have an outstanding application for permanent residence and/or a spousal sponsorship application.
Please consult the AVRR pilot program eligibility criteria for full details.
How do I apply?
As of June 29, 2012, you can apply in any of the following ways:
- Apply in person at the CBSA's Greater Toronto Enforcement Centre, located at:
6900 Airport Road
Hours of service:
Monday to Friday
8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Speak to a CBSA officer the next time you are required to report to a CBSA office in the GTA for an interview.
- Contact the CBSA by e-mail at AVRR-ARVR@cbsa-asfc.gc.ca for more information on how to apply, or to set up an AVRR eligibility interview.
- Call the CBSA Border Information Service at 1-800-461-9999 for more information on how to apply.
When you apply, you will be asked to meet with a CBSA officer, who will assess, based on your case information, whether you qualify to participate in the pilot program. If you qualify, the officer will give you an AVRR application form. You have 24 hours to contact the IOM and schedule an appointment where you must submit this form.
Once the IOM receives your AVRR application, its staff will work with you to help you return home.
For more information about how the IOM can help you return home successfully, please visit the IOM Web site.
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