To be successful in claiming refugee status in Canada, a person must prove that they have a legitimate fear of persecution upon returning to their home country based on one of five factors: religion, nationality, race, political group, or membership in a persecuted social group such as sexual orientation or gender. The person must also demonstrate that their country may mistreat them or would be unable or unwilling to provide effective protections against threats that puts their life at risk.

This situation can be considered a matter of life and death, so some people cannot afford to take any chances when applying for refugee protection. For this reason, the services of an attorney skilled in immigration matters should be considered and below are ways that they can assist.

1. Experience

To give yourself the best chance of making a successful refugee status claim, you want assistance from someone who is skilled and experienced with the process. For this reason, hiring an immigration attorney is a crucial consideration. You may be familiar with the grounds that someone can claim refugee status in Canada, but there are certain things that may exclude you such as arriving from the Canada-United States border, criminal records, previous refugee claim ineligibility, or the recognition of refugee status by another country.

An immigration lawyer will be able to tell you whether you will have a valid case before initiating the process to save you a lot of time and money and may be able to give advice on how to address any issues that presently make you ineligible to claim status.

2. Assistance with forms

Like a majority of other government or immigration processes, there is a significant amount of paperwork to complete and submit in a refugee status claim. In a typical refugee claim application package in Canada there are approximately 6 different sections that request information such as general details about you, background, dependents, and any parties representing you through the process. Most importantly this package includes a Basis of Claim form where you need to outline in great detail the reasons why you are claiming refugee status.

Hiring an immigration lawyer can assist you with all required documents to successfully apply and this is especially important if there is a significant language barrier. Any errors or omissions in your application could lead to issues with processing and an attorney can assist you and review all information for completion and accuracy.

3. Representation at hearings

Anyone that makes a refugee status claim in Canada is entitled to a hearing within 60 days from the date of the application. Because this hearing is a certainty, it would be beneficial for you to hire an attorney as soon as possible. If you received assistance from one when you applied, inquire as to whether he or she can represent you at your hearing. Before the hearing date, you will receive a Notice to Appear For a Hearing that specifies the date, time, and location of the hearing.

If you do not know where the venue is, the attorney can help you with this to ensure you are able to attend. At the hearing, the panel will have questions regarding your application to determine your suitability. These questions may be difficult for you to answer due to language barriers or emotional reasons. The attorney can answer these questions on your behalf and guarantee that your rights and interests are represented.

This attorney can also gather evidence such as media reports, letters from human rights organizations, and letters backing up your circumstances to use at the hearing and put you in the best possible position of having your status claim approved.

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