Vancouver Refugee and Asylum Protection Lawyers

Vancouver Refugee and Asylum Protection Lawyers

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The Chinese government has given many of its residents quite a bit to fear. Persecution of religious minorities, political activists, journalists, and their families certainly continues, and human rights violations abound.

If you, a loved one, or a refugee that you are trying to sponsor is most comfortable speaking in Mandarin Chinese, then our team of top-notch immigration lawyers can help. We speak Mandarin, allowing you to get legal help and advice while reducing the stress of working in a second language. 

In addition to speaking your language, we are top notch lawyers with decades of experience helping people just like you. We can fight the good fight to get you the protection you deserve.

What is Refugee Protection?

Refugee protection allows a person who is at risk for serious persecution and violations of their human rights in their home country to claim protection from Canada and receive permanent residency. If your refugee protection claim is successful, you will be able to start fresh in a new land, free from harm. 

There are two types of refugee.

A Convention Refugee is someone with a well-founded fear of persecution. They are usually part of a group that is being targeted due to their race, religion, nationality, membership in a social group, or for expressing a particular political opinion. A Convention Refugee is someone who is already left their country and is unable to return. A Uighur who flees China to avoid being placed in one of the concentration camps and makes an application at the port of entry would be an example of a Convention Refugee. 

A person in need of protection is a more general category. It is someone who risks torture, cruel and unusual treatment or punishment, or death if they return to their home country. An activist who the Chinese government is targeting for imprisonment could fall into this category.

If the IRB decides you meet the criteria of one of these two categories then you will be able to apply for permanent residency. This entitles you to live in Canada, seek employment in Canada, study in Canada, and be protected by Canada’s constitution and code of human rights. The only thing you can’t do in Canada when you are a permanent resident is vote. 

Who Needs Refugee Protection?

Any person who fears torture, persecution, cruel or unusual punishment, or death if they return to their home country might well need refugee protection. 

To be a refugee or to gain asylum you must be able to prove you wouldn’t be safe in any other region of your own home country. Often you must prove that you tried and failed to get protection in your home country. Usually you will have to show evidence that your fear is real and warranted. 

Anyone who can prove that they meet these criteria and are not otherwise ineligible may make a refugee claim in Canada. 

Humanitarian and Compassionate Applications

There are some individuals who might be in danger in China but do not, strictly speaking, qualify either as a Convention Refugee or as a person in need of protection. When this happens the Humanitarian and Compassionate Application can create an exception to the rules. 

This type of application still claims that being disallowed from entering Canada would cause you to face some sort of dire hardship or extreme, insurmountable danger. It is a petition plea to Canada to consider your unique case even if you would not normally qualify for permanent resident. 

One can apply for this program either from within Canada or outside of it. You cannot apply on humanitarian or compassionate grounds if you already have a refugee claim underway, or if you had a negative decision from IRB within the last 12 months. There are a number of other restrictions as well.

Often this application is used to prevent removal, and applies to those who have been in Canada for some time. 


Am I eligible to make a refugee claim?

You can make a refugee claim if you are:

  • Inside of Canada
  • Not subject to a removal order
  • Are not inadmissible for reasons of criminal behavior 
  • Are not found to be a security risk
  • Cannot return to your home country
  • Are not recognized as a refugee by any other country

In addition, you must not have arrived via the Canada-United States border, as the United States is considered a safe country. Refugees are expected to ask for refugee status at the first safe country they arrive in. If you arrived in the United States, you’d be expected to make your request of the United States as well.

To be classified as a Convention Refugee you must show that you have a well-founded fear of persecution on the basis of your race, religion, political opinion, nationality, or membership in a social group.

To be classified as a person in need of protection you must prove that returning to your home country puts you in danger of torture, execution, or cruel and unusual punishment. 

If you are outside of Canada you may make an asylum claim instead.  To do this you must generally be referred by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). You may also be referred via a private sponsorship. 

What is the difference between a refugee and asylum claim?

These are really just two programs that accomplish basically the same thing but describe two different circumstances.

If you are already in Canada then you will be making an Asylum claim. 

If you are outside of Canada but are hoping to enter Canada because you are in danger, then you will use the Refugee and Humanitarian Resettlement Program.

Who manages the asylum program?

The asylum program is managed by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). Generally the refugee arrives in Canada without a visa but stops to make a claim at the port of entry. 

Who is eligible to claim asylum?

You can claim asylum if:

  • You are currently outside of Canada.
  • You are referred by private sponsorship or by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
  • Are designated either as a Convention Refugee Abroad or as a Country of Asylum Class refugee.

To be designated as a Convention Refugee Abroad you must:

  • Already be outside your home country, but not in Canada
  • Cannot return to your home country due to a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, political opinion, nationality, or membership in a social group.
  • You are either sponsored or have the funds needed to support yourself and your family after you arrive in Canada.

The country of asylum class covers individuals who are:

  • Outside of their home country or the country where they normally live; and
  • Have been seriously affected by civil war or armed conflict; or
  • Have been denied basic human rights on an ongoing basis.

Like Convention Refugees, country of asylum refugees must either be sponsored for asylum, or they must prove they have the funds to support themselves and their families after arriving in Canada. 

Who can sponsor an asylum claim?

The Government of Canada, individuals, and organizations may all sponsor refugees. 

What happens when a person applies for refugee protection?

Once you either apply with IRCC or claim asylum with the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) one of three things will happen.

One is that your claim will be sent to the IRB, who will either recognize you as a refugee and deny your claim. If this happens your immigration lawyer will have to help you launch an appeal.

One is that you are found ineligible to apply for protection, for reasons of criminality or for other reasons that might keep you from entering the country. Again, your immigration lawyer can help you appeal this decision. 

In some cases, you will have to apply for a PRRA, a pre-removal risk assessment, with IRCC. The results of this hearing will determine whether or not you are recognized as a refugee.

Get Help Today

There is nothing simple about making a refugee claim. It’s a complex legal matter and a labyrinthine process. A great deal can go wrong.

But our office has helped thousands of people flee China and resettle here in British Columbia. We are a caring team of Mandarin speakers who is responsive, dedicated, and committed to keeping you safe.

You cannot manage an asylum claim or refugee claim alone. Even though you can apply online, nothing about the process is simple or easy. Our team helps you avoid mistakes, prepare convincing documentation, and navigate hearings and interviews. If something goes wrong, we’re experienced litigators and appeals lawyers who can give you your best chance of making a fresh start here in British Columbia.

Contact us today to set up an appointment. You or your loved ones should not have to spend another minute living in fear. 

Chinese Lawyer Vancouver serves clients in Vancouver, Abbotsford, Langley, Surrey, and White Rock. Call to set up an appointment today.

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