Prvo: Roma coming to Canada well aware of all formalities
Prague Daily Monitor
8 June 2009
Prague, June 5 (CTK) – It is amazing that though Czech Romanies come to Canada to ask for asylum from different regions they all know what they should have with them and what they should say, as if someone has instructed them beforehand, Czech Jan Rotbauer, who works as an interpretor for Romanies, said in Pravo Friday.
However, their information is often erroneous, for instance, that someone will provide them with accommodation, Rotbauer, who has been translating for Romanies in Canada since 2007, told the daily.
This irritates Canadian immigration officers. After having questioned claimants for political asylum the officers inform Romanies, with a certain share of malice, that they could go wherever they want, Rotbauer says.
They point out to them it was their irresponsibility that they do not have any money or have not ensured where they will spend the night.
Finally, someone provides them with leaflets with the address of the Red Cross. All the rest the Romany must do on their own, he says.
According to Rotbauer, 99.5 percent of Czech claimants for Canadian asylum are Romanies.
He points out that it is a big problem to find accommodating in Canada.
All hostels and dormitories in Toronto and in the 100-km circle around it that originally served the poorest of the poorest are now densely packed with Romanies asking for asylum. Many of them find the life among drug-addicts and the real scum of society very difficult, Rotbauer says.
He says that quite a large percentage of people arriving in Canada to ask for asylum there return home within two to three months. Some of them really expected to find a land of milk and honey in Canada and others realised that it is not a paradise there and that relatives are waiting for them at home.
In addition, they often return to the Czech Republic with thousands of dollars from the Canadian welfare allowances. To receive an air ticket it is enough for them to visit the commission for refugees and withdraw their asylum application and they fly home within a week.
Under international conventions, all travel expenses are covered by air companies who brought them to Canada, Rotbauer says.
He says that Romany can only ask for asylum in Canada once. The moment they decide to return home they prove to the Canadian authorities that they are not afraid in their native country, he says.
He says that most of the asylum claimants have either basic or apprentice education and that for the whole time of his work with Romanies he only came across one claimant who was a university student.
Rotbauer says that many Romany asylum claimants lack some of the necessary documents that they omitted to bring with them.
It is a well-known fact that Romanies living in Canada communicate with Romanies in the Czech Republic via the Internet and many of them have a profitable business from this.
They are reminiscent of usurers in the Czech Republic.
There are also Romany money-lenders who lend money on a 400-percent interest.
These people can be easily distinguished from others at the airport already because they wear rich clothing and thick gold chains.
They live of other Romanies' ignorance. For instance, they ask 250 Canadian dollars (4300 Czech crowns) for accompanying a Romany to a dentist. These people impoverish other Romanies, Rotbauer says.
He says that though the average allowance of an asylum claimant in Canada, including child benefits, is not high the Romanies are very crafty and find their ways.
They know that it is enough to pass himself for a person suffering from allergy to certain foodstuffs they can receive up to 250 dollars a months to cover their certain diet demands. For a four-member family it is 1000 dollars and added to the remaining allowances it makes a sum off which they can live quite comfortably, Rotbauer says.
He says in his view it is unlikely for Canada to re-impose visas for Czech citizens.
“The Czech Republic is the EU president at present and Canada is seeking the establishment of a free trade zone with the EU. By introducing visas it would act against its own interests,” he says.
“I rather expect that Canada will define all EU countries as a secure zone and will start rejecting Romany asylum claimants at the airport already,” he says.
“On the other hand, Canada needs new people to preserve the standard of its population and Romanies are not a burden to it from the point of view of its national interests,” Rotbauer concludes.