February 27, 2017 4:59 pm
Updated: February 27, 2017 8:51 pm

‘If it’s not strong, you can lose’: A look at the fast-paced process of making a refugee claim

WATCH: Global's Shelden Rogers breaks down the process asylum seekers must follow when entering Canada.


WINNIPEG — For asylum seekers, illegally crossing into Canada is only half the battle of staying in the country permanently.

It can take more than a year sometimes to receive permanent residency in Canada, but before that can happen, a number of things need to go right for asylum seekers.

“This is your case, your refugee case. So if it’s not strong you can lose,” Ayale Mohamud, a counselor at Welcome Place, said

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It all starts once the asylum seekers illegally enter Canada. Once arrested by police, the newcomers are brought to the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) to make their initial refugee claim.

WATCH: As undocumented immigrants in the U.S. see more accounts of authorities welcoming migrants crossing into Canada, more asylum seekers are tempted to follow. Mike Armstrong spoke with Syrians who crossed the border and tells you why one tiny, dead-end road in Quebec became Canada’s busiest unofficial border crossing.

If they are approved, they have two days from that time, to fill out a general information package, and submit it to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.

“Information is the most important thing they need to start that process,” Mohamud said.

Ayale Mohamud is responsible for assisting refugee claimants with general paperwork at Welcome Place.

Shelden Rogers/Global News

Once the general information is submitted, Mohamud said refugee claimants have 15 days to complete a basis of claim, normally a 12-page document explaining their individual story.

“You have to remember some of the key things, like what happened to you, when it happened to you, and what will happen if you go back.”

RELATED: Town officials say another group of asylum seekers crossed in to Emerson, Manitoba Sunday

As soon as all of the preliminary information is submitted, claimants have to wait for their first hearing, which could take up to two months. If that hearing is approved, the wait for permanent residency can begin.

WATCH: Extended: Syrian who crossed Canadian border speaks out

Mohamed said it can take up to a year or more to receive the final approval on paper.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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