Collecting client information

Once you have communicated important information about your organization and your role, advocates should take time to read through the reception area questionnaire. The information provided within the questionnaire will help the advocate gain some essential information regarding how to proceed with the appointment.

Fill out an intake form

Before you begin screening a client, you must first collect important information about your potential client. To do so, advocates often rely on an intake form to record important demographic and other personal information about a client.

Identifying special needs or other important characteristics

All your clients are vulnerable. However, there is also an understanding that particular sub-groups of refugees need special attention. The UNHCR defines these cases as, “[p]hysically, mentally or socially disadvantaged persons who may be unable to meet their basic needs and may therefore require specific assistance.” Because clients with special needs may be eligible for procedural accommodations, it is important that you identify early on in the interview process whether your client is particularly vulnerable to additional risks.
The UNHCR’s Heightened Risk Identification Tool (2010) highlights five high risk categories of refugee applicants that may present special vulnerabilities: Older People, Children and Adolescents, Women and Girls at Risk, Legal and Physical Protection, and Health or Handicaps.

For more information on how to interview refugee clients and identify special needs, please refer to the Vulnerable Populations section of the toolkit.

Some questions to help you identify special needs:

Below you will find materials to help you identify and address any special needs that your client presents.