New Brunswick

Refugee clinic opens in Moncton

The New Brunswick Refugee Clinic, which offers free legal advice for people seeking refugee status in Canada, has already received several calls from newcomers from South America, North Africa and the Middle East since opening less than two weeks ago.

The New Brunswick Refugee Clinic offers free legal advice to those seeking refugee status in Canada

Akram Bensalah, who came to Canada as a refugee four years ago, is executive director of the New Brunswick refugee clinic.

The New Brunswick Refugee Clinic, which offers free legal advice to people who have been forced to leave their country, has already received several calls from newcomers from South America, North Africa and the Middle East, since opening less than two weeks ago.

The new clinic on St. George Street in Moncton operates as a not-for-profit organization. A handful of immigration lawyers will be helping people who seek to obtain refugee status from the Canadian government.

Akram Bensalah, the clinic's executive director, was himself a refugee to Canada four years ago. He came here to escape the political unrest in Tunisia.

Bensalah said he, like most refugees, could not afford legal services, so he had to go through the process on his own.

''There was no help,'' said Bensalah, adding the clinic is a first for New Brunswick.

''We are going to be the only clinic in New Brunswick so we are going to give help to people from different cities. I think that we are going to be very busy.''

Bensalah said it can be very difficult for most newcomers to go through the process of obtaining refugee status.

''They do not know the procedure. They do not know how to do that. Because it's a very long process. And there are many applications that you have to fill in,'' said Bensalah.

''It's going to be one of the means to retain our immigrants here. Because people if they don't find help here they are going to go to other provinces.''

Bensalah said it's not Syrians that need help, as they come here with an already granted refugee status, but those coming from other countries.

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