Roma Refugees Are Finally Being Heard in Canada

After years of low success rate, Roma refugees in Canada are receiving as much as 70 percent claim success. It is because of the new government in 2015, removal of the corrupt lawyers, and reduction in time taken by authorities to review claims. The claim approval rate in 2013 was the only 21 percent but increased to 55 percent in 2014 and 77 percent in 2015. From that time it is significantly stabilized to 70-77 percent.

For years, these Roma refugees from Hungary were ill-treated in Canada and had to wait for years for making a positive refugee claim. Earlier, the time given to authorities to review claims was one year, but now it is reduced to 60 days, which keeps them on their toes to complete the case within the stipulated time. Even lawyers that would support their claim were actually against them getting the refugee status. Anna Shabotynsky, a lawyer who helped several Roma refugees get refugee status said that they’ve been victims of injustice. As lawyers, they don’t know how the authorities will treat each case because every scenario is very different.

Melissa Anderson, the spokesperson for Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, said that determining if a person is a refugee or not is a complicated process. Many factors contribute to the decision including the city the person is from, have they spent time in another country before coming to Canada, age, gender, and evidence provided.

The story of Virginia Ivancsik

Virginia Ivancsik came to Canada around seven years ago. It was in 2016 that her claim was approved. She too was a victim of discriminative lawyers and bad justice, but she is grateful that she will get to start a new life with her husband and 18-month old son. She loves Canadian people because they are always smiling. Back in Hungary, people would spit on them.

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