Refugee applications fall 41 per cent since 2001

Posted by admin on Apr 16th, 2005

Refugee applications fall 41 per cent since 2001. CanWest News Service

The number of foreigners applying for refugee status in Canada has declined 41 per cent since 2001 in the wake of tighter security measures at the border, according to Citizenship and Immigration. But refugee advocates fear legitimate asylum-seekers are being driven underground to get to Canada via smugglers.

Andre Labelle, a spokesperson for Citizenship and Immigration, said the number of refugees has declined because government officials are more closely scrutinizing visitor visa applications, and airport security operations are screening out passengers holding fake or forged documents.

About 43,990 people sought refugee status in Canada in 2001, but only 25,750 did so in 2004. About a third of asylum- seekers during that period came to Canada from the U.S., and those numbers are expected to drop sharply this year.

The two countries signed an agreement that took effect Dec. 29 disallowing refugees from seeking asylum in Canada if they first arrived in the U.S., unless they meet specific exceptions. Refugee advocates said the measures have made it more difficult to get into Canada than the U.S.

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