In Refugee
Mary Keyork
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My family and I came to Canada three years ago and made refugee claims in Toronto. We did not appear for our hearing at the IRB, as we were not advised about the hearing date by our immigration consultant. Now, we would like to leave Canada and would like to know if we are eligible for the voluntary removals process? If so, how should we apply?

Eligible applicants who have had their refugee claims refused by the IRB may be able to receive a payment of up to $2,000 if they agree to leave Canada. This is called the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Pilot Program. In order to be eligible, however, you had to have received a negative determination by a member of the IRB. In your case, as you did not show up for the hearing and likely had your refugee claim declared abandoned, you would not be eligible for the program (unless, for some reason, your file is still open). Any person whose claim was either abandoned or withdrawn will not be eligible. In addition, it is not clear whether you have notified Canada Immigration of your current address since you failed to appear for your hearing. It would be wise to obtain proper legal advice as soon as possible to accurately assess your current immigration situation and formulate a strategy.