Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Asylum Shopping Definition:

The practise by an individual given asylum by one state as a refugee, to then use that status to attempt to migrate to another country.

Related Terms: Asylum, Refugee

In Zeng, the court defined asylum shopping as follows:

"Asylum shopping refers to circumstances where an individual seeks protection in one country, from alleged persecution, torture, or cruel and unusual punishment in another country (the home country), while entitled to status in a safe country (the third country)."

In Kaberuka, the court referred to asylum shopping as the intentional making of mutiple refugee claims in order to ultimately choose the state which offers "the most favourable conditions of asylum".

Some countries more readily offer asylum to refugees than do others, often for cultural or economic reasons. Other take refugees from certain states more readily than others, again for cultural reasons. However, the economic or other features of a country that affords refugee status to an individual may not coincide with that individual's first choice. So, once refugee status has been obtained in the first state, the refugee locates into the preferred state hoping to use the refugee status to leapfrog the preferred state's criteria.

Asylum shopping is where a refugeee claimant seeks to shift from one member state to another in search of better treatment.

For example, arabic immigrants may seek and obtain refugee status in Canada and then use that status to attempt to facilitate their intended final destination, the United States of America. In response, as of 2010, and as between these two states only, a Safe Third Country Agreement is in place.

In Wassiq, Justice used these words:

"I would observe that if, by reason of their absence from Germany and sojourn in Canada, the applicants are, in effect, entitled to renounce the protection they received from Germany and claim protection from Canada, such a result is anomalous. In substance, it gives persons who have Convention refugee status in one country the right to emigrate to another country without complying with the usual requirements, solely by reason of their unilateral renunciation of the protection initially given to them by the first country. In effect, this means that they can asylum shop amongst countries who are signatories to the Geneva Convention and queue jump normal immigration waiting lists to the country of their choice. If this is the case, the applicants, who resided in Germany for ten years, may simply abandon Germany for Canada. They would have greater rights to emigrate to Canada than persons of German nationality. That is neither fair nor logical."

In immigration law, asylum shopping is prohibited. In Mohamed, the court noted that:

"The Geneva Convention exists for persons who require protection and not to assist persons who simply prefer asylum in one country over another."

In Wangden:

"Mr. Wangden is implicitly asylum shopping as he is seeking a more favorable status in Canada to take advantage of the benefits that accrue from permanent residence, including the right to travel abroad and to sponsor others which he could not have enjoyed from withholding status in the US."


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