IN the year since comprehensive reforms to Canada’s asylum system took effect, the number of new asylum claims from safe countries has decreased to historic lows, ensuring that genuine refugees – truly vulnerable people from some of the world’s most volatile areas – receive faster and fairer protection, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced on Wednesday.
Asylum claims from countries that historically produced high numbers of unfounded claims have dropped by a dramatic 87 per cent. The overall reduction in asylum claims has already resulted in greater than anticipated savings to Canadian taxpayers of more than $600 million in provincial and federal government welfare, education and health-care costs. Overall savings are projected to be more than $1.6 billion over five years.
* In 2011, there were approximately 6,300 asylum claims from EU countries – more than from Africa or Asia.
* Under the new rules, annual asylum claims from Hungary – an EU country and the top source country for asylum claims in Canada over the past three years with already high withdrawal and abandonment rates- have declined by an overwhelming 97 per cent.
* Asylum claims from the United States have also dropped significantly – down by roughly 80 per cent from the year before.
* Countries in distress, such as Afghanistan, Congo, Egypt, Somalia and Syria, now rank among the top 10 source countries for asylum claims in Canada.
“The new system is working and we are providing faster protection to those in genuine need. By reducing the number of unfounded claims, we are able to focus our resources on refugees who truly need Canada’s protection. Canadians take great pride in the generosity and compassion of our immigration and refugee programs, but we have no tolerance for those who seek to take unfair advantage of our country. The success of the new system after a year demonstrates that we have reinforced the integrity of the system and are guarding against abuse of our generosity,” said Alexander.