n00b question about the actual procedure for refugees, please advise
February 22, 2017 5:13 AM   Subscribe

One of my former students in Malaysia, from Yemen, has asked for my help. I do not know what to do.

I know there are many Mefites directly involved in refugee resettlement and similar NGO activity. I hope you can point me in the right direction. This guy cannot go home, his house literally is blown up and he is from the active conflict zone in Yemen.

He is on a short term student visa in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. So he can stay there for a year or more. His mother is living with his uncle as an internally displaced person in Yemen, as the family home was destroyed. All family is still there in the middle of the war. They do not want him to come back. Likely because of his culture (not Houthi but from the heart of "insurgent" Houthi territory) he would be targeted as an enemy, conscripted, or some other shitty fate.

He has asked me "How can I seek asylum in Canada?"

My honest answer at this moment is "I have no idea." But I want to do better for this poor guy. I have done the most cursory poking at the Canada High Commission in Malaysia webpage, as well as the UNHCR KL webpage, there are no obvious links about "How to apply as a refugee".

Please let me know how to practically advise this guy. What should he do? What steps should he take to get to long term safety?

He is young, early 20s, no other family outside of Yemen. Basic English.
posted by Meatbomb to Law & Government (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
What's his religion? Does he have a local mosque or church group that he is involved in that could put him in touch with a Yemenese-diaspora group or a Refugee-support group locally? Often the local religious organisations know who to go to etc and get him started with people nearby who are already applying. I got approached for the visa for a somewhat similar case that way previously, and was able to link them to some more useful sources even though I knew nothing personally but someone else in the church community did.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 7:00 AM on February 22, 2017

It looks like he will need to be sponsored as a refugee by either the UNHCR or a private sponsor and that he doesn't apply directly to the embassy. So, I think the key is to find him a sponsor. More information on private sponsor is here here and there is a search tool for the sponsorship agreement holders (groups that have signed agreements with the government to sponsor refugees) here. Maybe getting in touch with some of the private groups from your province or with whom you might have a connection would be a good step? Also, maybe someone in Malaysia could help him register there with the UNHCR.
posted by Alluring Mouthbreather at 7:31 AM on February 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

There are three forms of sponsorship for refugees in Canada:
GAR: government sponsored
BVOR: Blended visa-- a sponsor group sponsors someone off a government list with a Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH)
GROUP OF FIVE: a group of 5+ sponsor a person they choose through the process.

I think your best option is to approach a local SAH (Sponsorship Agreement Holder) to ask if he can be added to a private sponsor list, and how that is done.

The Anglican Church is the SAH attached to my sponsorship, but the biggest sponsor in Canada is the Mennonite Church. Both will work with people of any religion.
For the student you might also contact WUSC which sponsors student refugees... They exist in most Canadian campuses.

If you and a group of university staff know this student and want to help, the fastest help is probably to gather a group and approach a SAH for support to form a private sponsor group. They can then guide you on all the steps.

I am currently in a sponsorship group of about 10 people sponsoring two families, and it is one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. Happy to share any more info you need about the process, whether or not you wish to be personally involved in sponsoring. Info from Citizenship and Immigration.
posted by chapps at 7:39 AM on February 22, 2017 [8 favorites]

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