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Shabnam Akrami is the Managing Partner and Founder of Akrami & Associates.

How can I come to Canada as Refugee

How can I come to Canada as Refugee

Refugee Protection in Canada

Canada is known for its compassionate immigration system. It has been a tradition for Canada to accept those in need and those who have fear of life. Recent case scenario would be Syrian refugees in Canada. Syrians are fleeing their country to come to Canada to seek protection and safety for them and their family members. In the process of migrating from Syria to Canada these refugees are also being vetted properly to make sure that wrong people do not enter Canada and also ensure the safety and security of Canadians. In this blog we will discuss what constitutes a refugee and what the rights and obligations are of refugees in Canada.

Who is Eligible as Refugee in Canada?

First we have to figure out what constitutes a refugee. There are people who are considered refugee because they have genuine reasons to make a refugee claim in Canada. However, not everyone can be trusted when they make a refugee claim in Canada. Some people enter Canada and make a refugee claim just so they can get Canadian citizenship or Permanent Residence in Canada. In other words wrong people try to take advantage of Canada’s generosity and such people do not even help Canada grow as a country instead they become a burden on the economy. For this precise reason, Canada finds it very important to vet people properly before giving them permanent residence in Canada. Canadian system of immigration makes it its first priority to make sure that wrong people do not find any loop holes in immigration procedure to find their way into Canada when they do not even deserve to be in Canada on the basis of their illegitimate claims.

The problem with allowing such people is that they can be a danger to Canadian society and might become a burden purposely to take unnecessary advantage of Canada’s system of governance. There are two types of refugees that are considered genuine according to Canada’s legal system. The two categories are listed below:

Convention Refugee Abroad Class:

You are in this category of refugee class if you are outside your home country and cannot return due to a well-founded fear of persecution based on religion, race, political views, or for being part of a particular group of people such as women or a having a specific sexual orientation.

Country of Asylum Class:

You may belong to this class, if you are outside your home country and your home country is affected by civil war or arm conflict or is suffering from a massive violation of human rights.

Now we will also talk about the categories of people who are not eligible under refugee class at all. Below are the people who are not eligible:

  • If you have an alternative solution for protection, such as an offer to be resettled in another country apart from Canada
  • If you are a citizen of another country and also have the protection of that country
  • If you went back to the country that you had left
  • If the reason for your persecution does not exist anymore

How to Claim Refugee Status?

For the flexibility of the process, a refugee claimant can apply at the port of entry once at the Canadian border or after arriving in Canada. Off course there are deadlines for filing forms and applications.

Claiming Refugee Status at the Port of Entry

If the claimant is found eligible to make a refugee claim, a date for the hearing of the claim will be provided right then and there. The claimant will also be provided with a form called the Basis of Claim form (BOC) that has to be filled out and filed at the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) within 15 days.

Claiming Refugee Status from within Canada

If a claimant wants to make a refugee claim after their entry to Canada, he or she can fill out the forms. Any kind of delays should be and has to be avoided. The claimant can go into a Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) office to get the forms, or they can also download the forms online. The important forms that are included are the Basis of Claim (BOC) form and permanent resident application forms. After filling the forms, the claimant must go to a CIC office to make the claim. It is duty of the CIC to take the forms and provide a date to the claimant indicating when they have to come back for an interview. At the interview, the claimant’s case and eligibility will be examined. If the claimant is eligible, a date for hearing will be given

Documents to show as a Refugee

The case of any refugee claimant revolves around their prove of identity. Documents such as identity cards, marriage certificates, birth certificates and membership cards from any organizations that a claimant belonged to, are just some of the examples of the documents that must be collected and put together to be brought over to Canada. Preferably original documents, with proper certified translations, are sufficient.

A refugee claimant must also provide evidence to show that his or her claim is truthful and based on facts. The more the documents to prove the claim the better the chances to succeed in the case. Examples of helpful documents could be photographs, signed and authentic letters from individuals who can confirm the claimant’s story, police reports, newspaper articles (naming the claimant or others experiencing similar persecution) medical reports and reports of human rights organizations. Those individuals who can verify the claimant’s identity, can appear at the hearing to give testimony and can also take part at the hearing to help the claimant. Furthermore, expert witnesses with knowledge of the conditions in the country of claimant’s back home can be a part of it as well.

Rights and Obligations of a Refugee

As a refugee in Canada you have certain rights and in some cases you may also have access to Canadian services while at the same time your refugee claim is reviewed by the authorities and officials. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects everyone in Canada regardless of their back ground. Sometimes in certain cases the refugee claimant is also allowed to apply for employment to work while waiting on their decision from the IRB. Refugee claimants can apply for student authorization to attend school as well.

Can I Appeal a decision as a Refugee?

Most people often ask if a refugee claimant can appeal a decision. The answer is yes, the claimant can always appeal if he/she does not agree with the decision of the tribunal. There are various opportunities given to a refugee claimant to appeal his decision until they are satisfied. Once the decision turns out negative by IRB the RPD Refugee Protection Division gives an opportunity to the claimant to make an appeal if he/she thinks that the decision is wrong or incorrect in their favour. If the claimant is not even satisfied with the decision of the immigration appeal division then they can also appeal for judicial review. Decision on most appeals are expected within 90 days unless there is an oral hearing is required in the case.

However, the opportunity to appeal is not available to everyone. There are people who are not entitled to appeal their decisions at all if:

  • the claim started before December 15, 2012
  • the claimant is from a designated country of origin (DCO)
  • the claimant is a designated foreign national (DFN), a claimant could be given this status if the Minister of Public Safety believes that they arrived in Canada illegally, such as part of a group smuggled into the country
  • the claimant’s claim was withdrawn or abandoned
  • the claimant arrived in Canada from a land border with the United States
  • the decision states that the claim was without credible basis

Contact Akrami & Associates

If you are refugee claimant and need assistance with your application to remain in Canada or appeal your case then call us today and let us analyse your situation and determine the best options for you!!

With Akrami & Associates there is always a way!!

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