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IMMIGRATION

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Salaam Canada receives requests from queer and trans Muslims globally who are navigating complex situations. Supporting people in other places is not our expertise. However, our goal is to help connect you to services and organized communities closest to you first.

 

As you probably know, immigrating as a refugee/asylum seeker is often a long process with no guaranteed outcomes. Nevertheless, if you are experiencing persecution based on sexual orientation or gender identity, it is certainly worth gathering information and beginning the process of seeking asylum outside your current country.
 

Remember that you can make a refugee claim from your country of origin and that there may be a number of suitable receiving countries beyond Canada.

 

Please note that Salaam Canada does not have financial resources to sponsor individuals.

 

If you want to emigrate to Canada by means other than claiming asylum,
here are some options to consider:

  1. This is a list of all current immigration programs in Canada (e.g. express entry, sponsorship, refugee claim):  https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/immigrate-canada.html
     

  2. These are the requirements and procedures to apply for a student visa in Canada: 
    https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/study-canada.html

     

  3. Here’s information on getting a work permit in Canada:
    https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/work-canada/permit.html

     

  4. Have you heard of this program? ‘International Experience Canada’ (IEC) provides youth with the opportunity
    to travel and work in Canada. More information can be found here: 
    https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/work-canada/iec/about.html

If you are looking to seek asylum and claim refugee status, you can do this in a number of countries. If emigrating to Canada is the option you’re looking to pursue, be aware that you will have an easier time declaring refugee status if you can get to Canada on your own. Here are some resources that may be useful for you:

 

Making a refugee claim based on sexual orientation and gender identity

  1. Q&A for Asylum Seekers & Refugees by ORAM
    https://oramrefugee.org/qa-for-asylum-seekers-refugees/ 

     

  2. United Nations Refugee Agency  (apply from country of origin)
    https://www.unhcr.org/en-us/ 

     

  3. Understand Your Options by Rainbow Railroad
    https://www.rainbowrailroad.org/gethelp 

     

  4. Pro Bono Legal Services by Country, from the Rights In Exile Programme 
    https://www.refugeelegalaidinformation.org/refugee-resources 

 

Here are two groups that specialize in assisting LGBT refugees relocate:

  1. Rainbow Railroad: 
    https://www.rainbowrailroad.ca/ 

     

  2. Refugee Legal Aid Information: 
    http://www.refugeelegalaidinformation.org/refugee-resources 

 

If Canada is your intended final destination

  1. FAQ: LGBT issues in Canada’s Immigration and Refugee System by EGALE:
    https://egale.ca/awareness/faq-immigration/ 

     

  2. Your Refugee Claim by Legal Aid Ontario​:
    http://lawfacts.ca/refugee/overview 

     

  3. How does Canada's refugee system work? by Settlement.org:
    https://settlement.org/ontario/immigration-citizenship/refugees/basic-information-for-refugees/how-does-canada-s-refugee-system-work/ 

     

  4. Canadian Immigration for Same Sex Partners by LEGIT:
    http://www.legit.ca/ 

If you’re newly arrived in Canada

Note: most newcomers to Canada settle in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary and Ottawa. Learn more through Statistics Canada.

  1. 519 Settlement Services (Toronto):
    https://www.the519.org/programs/newcomer-settlement-service 

     

  2. Newcomer Settlement Agencies (Ontario): 
    https://www.ontario.ca/page/getting-settled-ontario 

     

  3. Centre for Newcomers (Alberta):
    https://www.centrefornewcomers.ca/settlement-services 

 

Your mental health and well-being

As fellow queer and trans people, we can empathize with the struggle of continuing to live under conditions of homophobia and transphobia. While you are in the process of emigrating and/or making a refugee claim, we encourage you to seek local support [link to Regional Groups] in your region. Reducing your isolation is always good for your well-being.​