Can I appeal an immigration decision in Canada? | Fighting refusals
Not every immigration decision is in the applicant’s favour. Unfortunately, immigration officers refuse some of the applications for various reasons. However, can you appeal an immigration decision in Canada? Is there a court system that could resolve the unfavourable decision? Let’s explore your options.
- The meaning of an appeal
- Right of appeal
- No right to appeal
- Judicial review
- Request for reconsideration
- Appeal for refugee claims
- Let us help!
What does an appeal to an immigration decision mean?
Let’s say you have the right to appeal. You may then take the matter to the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD). The IAD decision-maker (member) hears your arguments and could decide in your favour. In other words, IAD has the power to decide your case without sending it back to an immigration officer. Of course, IAD is a division of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB), the largest administrative tribunal in Canada.
Right to appeal an immigration decision in Canada
The Immigration Act (IRPA) offers the right of appeal in the following situations.
- Visa refusal of family class: This option applies to spousal sponsorship, parental sponsorship, or other family members such as siblings, nieces or nephews, and aunts or uncles. However, inland spousal cases do not qualify.
- Removal orders to PR visa holders: If you are outside Canada and IRCC approves your PR application, you usually receive a single-entry visa to travel to Canada. We call this kind of visa the immigrant visa, a.k.a. the PR visa (category code IM-1). You may then validate your COPR and become a permanent resident at the time of arrival. However, sometimes matters could go wrong at the port of entry. In extreme cases, you may even face a removal order. Luckily, you have the right to appeal the decision of the officer.
- Removal orders for protected persons and permanent residents: Sometimes, PRs or protected persons face removal orders at an admissibility hearing. They may later appeal that decision.
- Loss of PR due to residency obligations: Permanent residents must meet minimum residency obligations or lose their PR status. However, if an officer decides they are no more PR because of residency obligations, they may appeal the officer’s decision.
- Appeals by the Minister: The Minister may also appeal the decisions made by the Immigration Division.
When do I not have the right to appeal?
You may not file for an appeal if you are inadmissible on the grounds of security, violating human or international rights, serious criminality or organized criminality (exceptions apply). Misrepresentation also disqualifies people from filing for an appeal (exceptions apply). Consult a professional for more information about disqualifying factors.
If none of the above conditions in the previous section applies, you do not have the right to appeal. Unfortunately, you do not have the right to appeal in any of the following examples:
- Economic immigration options, such as
- Sponsor your spouse or common-law partner inside Canada
- Humanitarian and Compassionate Considerations (H&C)
- Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
- Temporary resident applications, such as
Of course, this list is not complete, but it can give you an idea of the limitations you could face.
If you do not have the right to appeal an immigration decision, you may consider filing for judicial review (JR). The process will be through the Federal Court. You need to hire a lawyer to assist you with a JR filing. However, if you win the case, IRCC has to reopen your application and review it again. In other words, winning an appeal means the approval of the application. However, winning a JR means reopening the application. Of course, exceptions apply.
Request for reconsideration
Let’s say you face refusal but do not have to right to appeal the immigration decision. In these situations, you may contact the immigration officer and ask for a reconsideration of their decision. You usually use the IRCC web form for this purpose. Of course, you must share convincing reasons with the officer. The reconsideration process is not official. Therefore, the officers often refuse or even ignore such requests.
Appeal for refugee applications
If the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) refuses your refugee claim, you may file for an appeal. The entity in charge of such appeals is the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD), a division of the IRB.
Let us help with the appeal of immigration decisions!
If you face a refusal or other immigration issues, fill out the following form. Alternatively, please book a consultation session with me or fill out our assessment form.
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Al Parsai, LLM, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Adjunct Professor – Queen’s University – Faculty of Law
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada
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