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New report looks at how Canada can improve policy to support refugee claimants

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. File/Global News

The Immigrant Services Society of BC has released a report taking a closer look at refugee claimants, as more continue to cross the border into the province.

Over 300 people awaiting their asylum hearings were surveyed, and they shared how they felt Canada could modify policies to better support the growing population.

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Director Chris Friesen said 57 per cent of respondents were employed in the country and less than 10 per cent were self employed.

He says one recommendation being made is to issue employment authorization at the time of filing a refugee claim and have it valid for up to five years.

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“[It] would go a long way in reducing access to provincial welfare income support, so that as these claimants are awaiting their hearings, they can work, pay taxes,” he said.

“This is a particular area that we have highlighted for the government.”

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He said there are more than a dozen recommendations being made to both the provincial and federal governments.

Last year we saw more than 1,270 claimants cross the border, a 76 per cent increase compared to the previous year.