Dr. Amanda Fernandez,
Ph.D., R. Psych.
A psychological assessment can be an impactful document to include in immigration applications, and may even be crucial to the application’s success.
Specifically with submissions for refugee or humanitarian and compassionate grounds (H & C), such assessments provide connections between psychological symptoms, social experiences, and potential immigration outcomes.
In short, these assessments can provide the applicant and their legal representative a succinct and integrative document that details the psychosocial considerations that are often central to refugee and H & C applications.
The role of the assessing psychologist is unique in that they are not considered an advocate for a specific party, but rather an objective expert who uses valid and established techniques to evaluate psychological and social outcomes.
The inclusion of an assessment from an objective expert third party can be helpful in providing credence to any potential negative immigration related outcomes identi-fied during the evaluation.
In an immigration context, the psychologist will conduct a clinical interview that collects details of the applicant’s pre and post migration experiences, as well as the presence of any psychological symptoms.
Mental health symptoms are also assessed using empirically validated psychological measures and symptom screeners. The use of such measures can also provide information on the validity of the applicants self-reported symptoms.
Finally, conclusions about the prognostic outcomes related to either remaining in the country or removal from Canada are drawn from an integration of all of the available information, including the applicant’s self-reports, psychological testing, and relevant evidence-based literature.
Importantly, the applicant participating in a psychological assessment related to refugee or H & C applications may be an individual or a family.
In sum, psychological assessments can provide a succinct and objective way to discuss these clients’ experiences and potential outcomes.