Gathering evidence that supports your claim is very important to show that you are telling the truth about what happened to you in your country. All supporting documents must be translated into English or French before submitting. You have up to 10 days before the hearing date to submit your personal evidence and supporting documents related to your story or your country. It is important to identify all types of documents that can support your claim. Examples include: birth certificates, marriage certificates or family booklets showing your relationship with particular family members; identity documents or membership cards showing your membership in a particular political or advocacy organization; medical records; photos of important events or physical injuries; police reports; newspaper clippings; threats received; proof of hiding or procurement of false identity papers in order to flee your home country; etc. All documents should be listed in a document list and the pages should be numbered consecutively.
One of the most important things you can do to prepare for your refugee claim hearing is to set up a mock hearing. This allows someone to ask you difficult questions about your claim to allow you to get comfortable sharing the details of your persecution with a stranger. The New Brunswick Refugee Clinic offers mock hearings for any refugee claimant who cannot afford a private lawyer.
The refugee hearing serves to determine if you are in need of protection in Canada or if you qualify as a Convention Refugee.
In New Brunswick, these claims take place by videoconference in Fredericton. It is important to arrive early for the videoconference. In most cases, there will be no one there to greet you. You will need to find the video conference room (on the second floor of the Wu Centre at UNB Fredericton) on your own. You then wait for the IRCC hearing office in Montreal to connect automatically by videoconference.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hearings at the Immigration and Refugee Board – Refugee Protection Division (IRB-RPD) are currently being held virtually on Microsoft Teams.
In order to attend the hearing, you have to connect remotely via Microsoft Teams from your counsel’s office or your home. The Board Member and other participants also connect remotely from their office or home.
During your hearing, the Board Member will ask you questions about your specific case and about your supporting documentation.
Some questions might be hard, and you might get sad or uncomfortable answering them. However, it is very important that you answer all questions at the best of your knowledge. Do not try to guess, add or embellish your story. It is important to give details related to what happened to you and to describe your fear.
At the end of the hearing, your counsel will also have an opportunity to ask you further questions and will also provide with oral submission as to why your claim should be allowed based on the evidence submitted, the case law and the regulations.
The hearing can take from 2 to 5 hours and can be adjourned to another day if not concluded. You might get the decision at the end of the hearing verbally – however, this is a rare occurrence. Most of the time the decision will be sent in the mail about 30 days later.
Many refugee claimants decide to have legal representation. This is highly recommended given the administrative process for submitting an adequate and complete refugee claim. Your representative will assist you in preparing for the hearing. This is important as the refugee determination process is complex and involves many different steps and procedures.
If you need assistance and you do not have the means to pay for a private lawyer, please Contact Us.