From a refugee to a permanent resident of Canada


Canadian permanent residency

Mary Keyork
Follow Me

Mary Keyork

BARRISTER & SOLICITOR - CERTIFIED SPECIALIST IN CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION LAW at Canada Immigration Alliance
Mary Keyork provides Immigration Law services for hundreds of immigration applications in all categories and has appeared before all three divisions of the Immigration and Refugee Board as well as at the Federal Court of Canada, successfully representing clients in complex immigration applications and hearings.
Mary Keyork
Follow Me

Ahmad contacted our office first via phone and then booked an in-person consultation. He came to Canada as a visitor ten days ago; being a citizen of Syria, he was working in Croatia as a temporary worker. Ahmad was lucky enough to get his work visa in 2009 and has been working in Croatia since then. Although he loved Syria, he was happy to get the chance to gain international work experience and to be far from politics. Most of his friends were involved in politics in one way or another, and his mother was very worried that Ahmad would too at some point.

Ahmad contacted our office first via phone and then booked an in-person consultation. He came to Canada as a visitor ten days ago; being a citizen of Syria, he was working in Croatia as a temporary worker. Ahmad was lucky enough to get his work visa in 2009 and has been working in Croatia since then. Although he loved Syria, he was happy to get the chance to gain international work experience and to be far from politics. Most of his friends were involved in politics in one way or another, and his mother was very worried that Ahmad would too at some point.

His mother continued to live in Syria, and Ahmad used to visit her as frequently as his work allowed him to. Unfortunately, when the civil war erupted in Syria, the visits were less frequent, and at some point, his mother prohibited him from visiting. In 2014, she had to flee Syria for Lebanon since her life was in danger when the city she resided in was attacked. She had to leave behind everything she and her late husband worked so hard for.

Sadly, in 2015, Ahmad’s mother had a heart attack and passed away without seeing her son for the last time. She was sick, and her health was disorienting; the thought of never seeing her son took a toll on her. She knew he was not able to visit. She was mourning the loss of her home and all the dreams she had, hoping to see the day her son would return to Syria. None of her wishes were set to become for; Ahmad would never return home because there was no home.

When Ahmad heard of his mother’s death, it was one of the worst moments in his life. He lost his father when he was 16, and his mother was everything he had. Ahmad’s parents got married only after the had their son, Ahmad, whom they gave all their love and affection.

Ahmad was lost and confused; while he certainly appreciated the chance to work in Croatia and to gain a valuable experience in his field, he never really intended to stay there. He loved Syria, where his mother and friends lived and were planning to relocate once he saved enough money to open his tech company. Unfortunately, with the recent developments, it did not seem possible. Ahmad was lost as to what options he had now. His work visa in Croatia was about to expire and it was not possible to renew.

In fact, despite living in the country for almost seven years, he did not qualify for citizenship or permanent residence and was asked to leave once it expired. When he tried to negotiate with his employer, he was told that even though they liked him, there was nothing they could do. They already hired new staff as per the Croatian employment law regulations on foreign workers. All that his soon-to-be former employer could have provided him with was a recommendation letter and best wishes.

Apparently, these were not enough, especially given the fact that Ahmad lost his Syrian passport and home, he had nowhere to go and no one to turn to. Ahmad tried his best to keep in touch with his Syrian friends, and the news from his country was devastating. Everyone he knew was trying to survive; most left their cities and became refugees, without hope and home, just praying that they would survive long enough to see their home again.

Sitting on the floor of his small rental studio in Zagreb, Ahmad felt lonely and desperate. Where could he go? He could not justify going back to Syria, where the death and sufferings reigned. Millions of women and children were fleeing their homes, becoming refugees and welcomed in very few countries. The pain Ahmad felt was indescribable; he was hurting for everyone that were affected by the Syrian civil war. He was hurting because he was alone. The war in Syria might never end, and even if it did, the country would never be the same.

His dreams and plans for the future came crashing down on him. He remembered how he dreamt about travelling the world; places he would take his mother and Canada among the first countries he would want to travel to. After all, he still had memories of his childhood when a family friend who was studying in Canada visited them and brought them maple syrup candies. Those quickly became Ahmad’s favorite, and he was always looking forward to his visits.

The next day, Ahmad started gathering documents to apply to Canada for a visa. He did not know what life had in store for him since he did not have a home to go back to, but he knew for certain that he had to try at least and make one of his and his late mother’s dreams come true. He heard that Canada was accepting refugees from Syria, but he was not sure how the mechanism worked exactly. In fact, he just wanted to visit and see the country. Fortunately for Ahmad, his visa was approved and he boarded the plane to Canada.

After arriving, he realized that Canada was even more beautiful than he imagined, and for a second he thought about how would that feel to live here. It seemed that Ahmad found the long-lost hope. He decided to inquire about the refugee programs and eventually contacted our office. He did not know whether he would qualify. After all, he didn’t want to think of himself as a refugee.

It was breaking his heart to think that the home he once knew was long gone and now he was left to the mercy of an international community. Ahmad was advised that for his refugee claim to be approved, there were certain things to be proved. His life was certainly in danger, which was the case. As a Christian, he was victim of discrimination, but he never acted on it since Syria was the only home he knew. His mother was a non-practicing Muslim, his father was Christian, and Ahmad was raised as a Christian.

The Syrian government was not able to provide adequate protection to their citizens, especially Christians, and Ahmad would not be able to seek refuge anywhere in Syria. His family residence was destroyed. Ahmad is a man in his early thirties and had nothing to go back to; no family, no house, nothing. If he were to be sent back to Syria, he would have died or would have been kidnapped sooner or later. Was Ahmad afraid of death? Certainly, but he knew that he was left at the mercy of the Canadian Judicial System, and there was nothing he could do. He only explained his genuine fear to go back to Syria because the country he once knew was long gone. However, Ahmad was ready to accept his fate, should he be sent back to Syria. Croatia was not an option and, at the refugee hearing, Ahmad truthfully answered all the questions.

His refugee hearing was an emotional one; he reminisced about his life in Syria with his parents and their home. No one chooses to lose everything they love and believe in; no one chooses to never go back home. He never thought that he would become a refugee, seeking rescue from pain, death, and suffering.

Three weeks later, Ahmad received a phone call from his lawyer that his refugee claim was approved, and soon he would be able to apply for a Canadian permanent residency. There was hope to build a new life in a safe and respectful environment. Although he will never be able to relive the life he had in Syria, he has a chance to live a life he would be forever grateful for in Canada that has become a second home to him now.

Share :
Related Posts

Leave Your Comment