Her work permit expired the day it was issued, leaving the asylum seeker desperate.

An asylum seeker fleeing Ethiopia’s civil war says she is outraged that Immigration Canada made a silly mistake on her work permit. She has been waiting for refugees for over 16 months and is unable to work, study or get adequate medical care. forward case.

Eden Zebene has been living in Ottawa since fleeing Ethiopia in February 2021. The 23-year-old is awaiting hearing by Immigration and Refugee Canada. public relations).

“I was very depressed…because there is nothing to do here. I am always at home. I can’t study or I can’t. [work],” she said.

“I want to change myself. Life.”

After 16 months of begging the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to proceed with the case by phone, email, in person and through an attorney, Zebene had an eligibility interview in late July. to get permission for her work and study.

Although she didn’t have a study permit yet, she finally got a work permit this month, giving her a glimmer of hope.

“I was so disappointed. I was so humiliated. I thought no one would care about me in this country,” Zebene said emotionally. She explained that she was experiencing severe mental health consequences as a result of IRCC’s delays and mistakes in her case.

“I cried a lot.”

The CBC asked Canada’s immigration agency for comment Tuesday about Zebene’s situation, but did not receive a response by the deadline.

This month, Zebene obtained a work permit. This copy she has shows it was issued on August 6, 2022 and will expire on the same day. (Buntra Nou/CBC)

Zebene said her family had been brutally attacked in Ethiopia’s Oromia region, burning down her family’s home and business. According to IRCC filings, she was detained, beaten, humiliated, threatened, and sexually assaulted by Ethiopian security forces for being Amharic and for her past political views. said to have been physically assaulted.

The region of northern Ethiopia has been embroiled in conflict since civil war began in November 2020, with all sides accused of atrocities. Although there are no official government statistics, it is estimated that thousands of Amharic were killed and millions displaced.

“I was scared for my life,” said Zebene.

A collage of burnt household items and rooms.
Zebene shared a video of a family whose home and business burned to the ground. These are some screenshots from that video. (Courtesy of Eden Zebene)

Having successfully settled in Canada, she dreams of studying computer science at the University of Ottawa and working part-time, but without a valid permit and social insurance number, she can’t.

She is also pregnant and had some health concerns a few months ago, but as she waits to qualify for the Ontario health insurance plan, she is now under interim federal health insurance. I was only able to access basic care at the clinic.

Zebene made several attempts to contact the IRCC to correct recent errors in the work permit, but to no avail.

“I am still young and I believe there is much I can do for this country and for myself.

A woman stands in front of the immigration office with documents.
Zebene says she has lived with physical and sexual abuse in Ethiopia. She has a copy of her work permit in front of her IRCC office in Ottawa. She sent her original back in hopes that the government would quickly rectify the error and get her back to work. (Buntra Nou/CBC)

‘All her dreams came crashing down’: Husband

Tizaz Yamitsu said it hurts to see his wife struggling.

“It was [a] “This bureaucratic process drained her energy and motivation….All her dreams basically seemed to collapse before her eyes.”

He wonders how such “minor mistakes” are made in important documents.

Yamitu, who was also an asylum seeker in 2017, has called on the IRCC to properly train its employees, rectify mistakes quickly, and immigration officers to empathize with applicants.

“It’s kind of like deciding someone’s fate, they have to think about it, right?” he said. “I can’t imagine making a mistake like this.”

Not knowing when she will be heard by the Refugee Board, Yamitu has asked the IRCC to expedite tracking Zebene’s spousal sponsorship application, which she submitted two months ago. This is another path the couple took to seek permanent residency in Zebene.

A woman in a red coat poses for a man in a blue and white jacket.
Zebene (left) and her husband Tizaz Yamitsu. Yamitsu said she was also an asylum seeker in 2017. He says it pains him to see his wife wait so long for the case to move forward. (Courtesy of Eden Zebene)

Longest waiting time seen by a refugee lawyer

Teklemichael Salemariam, a lawyer in Zebene who practices refugee law, said her 16-month waiting time for a qualification interview was the longest of any client she had ever seen.

“It’s not normal,” he said.

Sahlemariam said he actually encourages clients in Ottawa to change their address to Toronto if possible to avoid delays.

“In fact, this happens a lot to my clients in Ottawa,” said the Toronto-based attorney.

Sahlemariam also has never seen anyone’s work permit expire on the same day the IRCC was issued. However, a week before he heard that Zebene’s permit had expired, he saw an email from another attorney whose client had experienced something similar.

“This kind of technical glitch can happen. I’m not surprised by it,” he said, adding that the IRCC should be able to fix it easily.

“Rather, it’s how long it took her to get this work permit.”

View | Attorneys say they are concerned about long client wait times.

Asylum seekers have been forced to rely on social assistance due to delays in work permits, lawyers say

Eden Zebene, an asylum seeker from Ethiopia, finally received his work permit after 18 months of delay, but it expired the same day it was issued. Her attorney, Tecklemichael Sahlemariam, said many of his other clients were experiencing delays as well.

Salemariam, also Ethiopian, said that what Zebene experienced in her home country was traumatic and, given the strong documentation of her persecution in Ethiopia, why it took so long for her case to move forward. Perhaps he was stunned.

“She wanted to be productive, give back to her community, pay her taxes, but she had to rely on social support because of problems she could not help.” He said.

Her work permit expired the day it was issued, leaving the asylum seeker desperate.

Source link Her work permit expired the day it was issued, leaving the asylum seeker desperate.

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