Canada to dramatically raise fees for deportees who return to Canada

Of note:

The federal government is planning to drastically raise the removal fees levied against deportees in order to recover the full costs associated with sending inadmissible foreign nationals home.

According to a proposed fee schedule, regardless of the destination, individuals who were removed without being escorted by border agents would be charged $3,250 and those with escorts would need to to fork out $10,900. There would be an extra $1,300 fee for detention.

Currently, Canada Border Services Agency only has two removal rates: $750 for foreign nationals deported to the United States or the French territory of St. Pierre and Miquelon; and $1,500 for those removed to any other countries.

The existing fee scheme has not been updated in more than 25 years. It does not align with the costs, nor does it leverage technology to ensure that outstanding removal costs owed by foreign nationals are recovered before receiving authorization to return to Canada.

“The cost of removal varies substantially regardless of destination of removal, based on factors such as whether or not the foreign national has been detained for removal, and/or has to be escorted by CBSA officers,” said the agency’s spokesperson Mark Stuart.

“The CBSA is considering a potential regulatory amendment proposal that would make a distinction between escorted removals and non-escorted removals because the average enforcement expenditure is higher for escorted removals than it is for unescorted removals.”

Stuart said any proposed changes would likely not come into effect until late in the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

Costs can only be recovered by the agency or the immigration department when a previously removed person seeks to apply for an authorization to return to Canada.

Canadian immigration and border officials do not work with overseas partners, including foreign governments, to collect the money, nor do they seize the person’s assets in Canada and collect the money from the person’s remaining family members here.

“Records will indicate whether an applicant paid for their airfare themselves, which means they will only be charged the $400 Authorization to Return to Canada processing fee,” said Stuart.

“If there’s no indication that they paid for the airfare themselves, they must provide evidence of that or refund the cost of their removal. No application (for the authorization) can be accepted until such evidence is provided.”

Between 2015 and 2019, Canada recovered removal costs from 164 foreign nationals in the U.S. or St-Pierre and Miquelon and 1,576 from anywhere else, bringing almost $2.5 million into the government’s general coffers.

The proposed fee amendment will include a provision to allow an automatic annual fee adjustment based on Canada’s consumer price index.

“These potential regulatory changes will help protect the integrity of Canada’s immigration enforcement program by ensuring that the CBSA’s removal program remains cost-effective,” the agency said in a consultation notice.

“They would also help offset the government’s immigration- and asylum-related enforcement costs, thereby providing value from the perspective of Canadian taxpayers.”

Source: Canada to dramatically raise fees for deportees who return to Canada

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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