Legal Assistance and Immigration Services
Living Water Community legal and protection programs are dedicated to ensure that refugees are informed of their rights, and can therefore access protective services. With a focus on refugee community empowerment, Living Water Community legal services involve public education, advice, individual representation and the pursuit of strategic litigation to bring about changes in legal practice or policy to advance refugee protection. We are particularly focused on ensuring that the most vulnerable – including children, survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, refugees with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual and queer (LGBTQ) refugees – can secure intensive legal aid.
Living Water Community: Ministry for Migrant and Refugees legal services also engage in the coordination and activities focused on capacity-building to advance refugee protection at the policy level both in Trinidad and Tobago. An extensive network of pro bono lawyers support the Living Water Community’s work to provide legal representation and refugee community volunteers are trained to serve as navigators to help individuals access social services, educational and employment opportunities.
Through increased access to community services as well as opportunities for education and employment during the legal process, Living Water Community: Ministry of Migrants and Refugees Legal Unit seeks to empower clients so that they eventually become agents of change in their communities.
*The Living Water Community: Ministry of Migrants and Refugees Legal Unit does not assist with criminal matters outside of the Immigration Act. However, people can be redirected to the Legal Aid and Advisory Authority of Trinidad and Tobago for related legal assistance and appointment of a public defender. More information about their services, locations and contact information can be found on their website at https://laaa.org.tt/
For more information on your labour rights in Trinidad and Tobago, please visit the Ministry of Labour and Small Enterprise’s website at https://www.molsed.gov.tt/empowerment/labour-inspectorate
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if I am detained?
If you are detained and are a registered asylum-seeker or refugee, you must present your United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) ID card to authorities. You will have the right to an attorney. Do note that it is advisable to inform Living Water Community of your detention as no private attorney can facilitate your release as an asylum-seeker without the assistance of Living Water Community.
You may be required to pay a refundable bond either prior to release or subsequent to release on a Order of Supervision from the Enforcement Unit of Immigration, and a Special Inquiry will be opened. This is a standard procedure that involves your presence before a Special Inquiry Officer at a hearing to determine whether you will be deported. Asylum-seekers are protected from deportation once Immigration has a copy of their United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) ID.
Why does immigration retain my passport if I am detained and released?
Retention of your passport is part of an important monitoring mechanism for Immigration and provides an alternative to detention. While we acknowledge the distress this may cause, you must abide by this.
However, if you have registered as an asylum seeker prior to expiry of your landing certificate (entry visa), then Living Water Community will refer you to Immigration and you may be granted an extension of this landing certificate and thereby entitled to keep your passport until such time as the visa expires or as otherwise stated. This is completely dependent on Immigration’s approval.
Where do I go and what should I do if I am a victim of a crime?
If you are a victim of any criminal offence, you can visit a police station near your area. Here is a list of police stations in Trinidad and Tobago along with their contact details: http://www.ttps.gov.tt/Contact/List-of-Police-Stations.
If you are registered as an asylum-seeker or with the government, please carry your United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) ID or your Minister's Permit with you when making the report.
For legal issues, please contact Living Water Community’s Legal Unit via text/WhatsApp at 299-5526
You may call if your case is very complicated. For very sensitive cases, we may need to meet with you.