We provide FREE, independent high-quality legal information to all people going through the Unified Screening Mechanism, in their own language, where possible. We run Group information Sessions for protection claimants on:
- USM1: How to apply – Information about how to make a claim to Immigration for protection in Hong Kong under the Unified Screening Mechanism (USM).;
- USM2: How to prepare – Information about what to do and what to expect after making a claim for protection,:
- USM3: Appeals and Judicial Reviews (JRs) – What to do if your USM claim has been rejected by HK Immigration and/or the Torture Claims Appeal Board.;
- Know Your Rights – Information for claimants about your rights in Hong Kong, including your rights in relation to immigration, the police, food, housing, health care, education, employment, getting married and having a family.; and
- Other topics relevant to protection claimants in Hong Kong depending on their needs.
At group information sessions, we explain to protection claimants how they may be able to obtain one-to-one assistance. Protection claimants can reserve a place at an information session by calling 3109 7359 between 9:30am and 6:00pm daily. Please note, our information sessions are for people seeking protection only.
We also offer drop-in hours where claimants are welcome to speak with our staff to answer questions relating to the USM.
The information session/drop-in schedule for July can be downloaded here.
Refreshments are provided, travel expenses are covered according to our transport allowance policy and interpretation is available, where possible. Please read our transportation allowance policy here.
To address the gaps in the Unified Screening Mechanism, we provide individualised support and assistance to the most vulnerable people in need of protection to ensure their needs are met. To identify claimants in need of individualised assistance, we aim to assess every claimant who comes to our centre.
We seek to work with the Duty Lawyer Service, and duty lawyers themselves, to use our expertise to support these vulnerable claimants. Working with our in-house team and pro-bono legal partners, we assist claimants to tell their stories, a process that can take time for people who are traumatised; research country of origin information; and help arrange medical, psychological and/or other expert reports to support their claims and to ensure they have the best chance of a fair process.
Presently non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Hong Kong cannot provide direct legal representation to individual clients in Hong Kong law. As Hong Kong Refugee Advice Centre, we represented clients before UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in the area of international law. However, we are presently unable to provide direct legal representation in the USM. All claimants in the USM will be assigned a duty lawyer, who will be paid by the Hong Kong Government to represent claimants in the USM.
In addition to providing legal information and support, we also campaign for fairer legislation and policies, produce reports and policy papers, conduct research and work with schools, universities and the media to fight root causes and change systems and minds. Visit our Policy and Advocacy page to learn about this work.
Migrant Domestic Workers
At the moment, we are unable to provide direct services to migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong. However, if you are domestic worker in need of assistance, please feel free to contact our offices. Where possible, we will refer you onwards to relevant organizations that can then provide you with the help you need.