Can refugee status be claimed once a person is here in Canada?

This article looks at applying for refugee status after arriving here in Canada and the importance of seeking legal assistance during the process.

Some individuals cannot spend the time needed to apply for refugee status from their home countries. The danger of persecution may not allow for those in fear for their lives to wait. For this reason, they may come to Canada to escape and then hope to receive refugee status.

Is it possible to apply for refugee status once they are already here in Ottawa or another part of Canada? Fortunately, it remains a possibility, but any person wanting to obtain the right to stay in the country as a refugee will most likely need to act quickly after entering the country.

Applying for refugee status from within Canada

The first thing to know is that perception counts. If an individual waits too long after entering Canada to apply for refugee status, an argument could be made that he or she is not truly in fear of returning to his or her country of origin. In fact, it would be a good idea to include an explanation of why the person delayed in applying as a preemptive strike against that assumption.

The first part of the claim process is only to determine whether an individual is eligible to apply for refugee status. This requires filing an application with the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada office close to where he or she currently resides. If everything is in order, the office will schedule an interview. A successful application at this point could mean that the process moves forward to the Refugee Board for consideration of a claim for this status.

A couple of caveats to understand

Anyone beginning this process may want to be aware of a couple of issues. First, it is possible that if the individual does not qualify for refugee status, he or she could be removed from the country. Second, authorities may detain the applicant at the interview for one or more of the following reasons:

· Authorities may believe he or she presents a security risk to Canada.

· Authorities may need time to confirm the individual's identity.

· Authorities may want time to make arrangements to remove the person from the country, and they believe he or she will not appear for removal otherwise.

Anyone detained at such an interview has the right to know the reason and to retain a lawyer within 48 hours.

The importance of working with a legal representative

Providing the right documentation and evidence when seeking to qualify for refugee status, getting through the interview and protecting one's rights is paramount for anyone wanting to remain here in Canada. Understanding what will serve that individual's best interests could prove problematic without assistance. Attempting to go through this process alone may not lead to a successful application and claim.

Anyone who would qualify for refugee status has a lot at stake. Having to return to the country of origin could put one's life in danger from violence or persecution. From the time a person decides to seek refugee status here in Canada, it could be greatly beneficial to work with an experienced immigration lawyer.

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