“The Canadian government has induced me into immigrating to Canada but is now placing whatever obstacles it can find to prevent me from reuniting with my spouse.” Those are the words from a client who had just walked in the office with a refusal letter from immigration refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) informing him that his relationship with his wife, whom he had married four years ago, is considered by IRCC, to be not genuine. While this client had already waited nine years for an affirmative answer from the IRCC, this refusal letter is certainly a blow to his confidence and signifies that there would an uphill battle for him to prove the nature of his own marriage.
As lawyers, while we understand the client's frustrations and feel empathetic toward his situation, our primary task is to identify the mistakes that he made in the past that led to the refusal, as well as to determine the steps to move forward that could maximize his chance of success. In this article, we will be discussing how to avoid some pitfalls in the path of sponsorship appeals and the way moving the case forward.
Choosing the right representative from the Gecko
A truthful, complete and comprehensive application package is more than half of the battle. In our appeals practice, we have unfortunately encountered many application packages that are incomplete and inaccurately completed which are the primary reason why the application got rejected. When we are hired to make an immigration application on the client’s behalf, we always encourage our clients to carefully review all information in the application package before we submit it, in order to avoid any inconsistencies later in the application process. In our experience, an application package that does not match with what the client later discloses during the interview or testifies during the appeal hearing always negatively predisposes an immigration officer, which is very difficult to reverse.
So how do you ensure that your application package is flawless? For those clients who are choosing to hire a representative, our best advice is not to invest blindly. Before you write the big cheque to a certain immigration lawyer or immigration consultant, be sure to check their credentials. Many clients might not have realized the importance of choosing the right representative to help them apply for spousal sponsorship. The area of immigration law is complicated and everchanging practice. All who practice in this field should be well-trained to be familiar with the current state of the law, as well as being aware of the need to be meticulous in conducting the client’s work. Besides lawyers, immigration consultants may assist the clients in filing their applications for immigration. However, clients need to be aware of businesses that hold themselves out as immigration consultants when they lack the necessary certification. Also, immigration consultants do not have the authority to represent the client in any level of the courts’ system, should any judicial appeal is required.
In summary, in order to maximize your chance of success in applying for spousal sponsorship, you need to consider the following:
· Choose a lawyer or immigration consultant that has the necessary credentials
· Review your application package with your lawyer or immigration consultant prior to filing your application
· Ensure that all statements made in the application are true and accurate
· Be completely familiar with information contained in your application package
What happens if an appeal is inevitable?
With Canada’s stringent immigration system, many applications will be rejected. While every rejected application comes with the right to appeal to the Immigration Appeals Division (IAD), an appeal is the best remedy only when:
· The application package submitted to the immigration officer contains significant inaccuracies that need to be clarified;
· There has been material change in circumstances and significant new evidence to submit since the refusal of the application; or
· The immigration officer had been wrong about the law when he or she made the determination to refuse the application.
For each of our client that retains us to file an appeal, we provide a thorough explanation of the appeals process.After we have assessed the client’s file we will provide advice and recommendations as to whether an appeal is warranted.
During the appeal process, there are several things that could maximize the client’s chance of success:
· Make sure you retain a lawyer who is necessarily familiar with the appeals process;
· Provide any additional evidence that focuses on and directly addresses the immigration offers concerns (evident in the refusal letter);
· Have clear and logical explanations of any inconsistencies between your application and your testimony at the interview; and
· Have a comprehensive knowledge of your relationship with your spouse (i.e timelines of how the relationship developed, significant members of each other’s families, importance etc).
However, we make it known to all our clients that an appeal hearing is not about memorizing the important dates, names, and places of their relationship. It is not about providing more paper evidence that repeats the same point. Instead, it is about telling the immigration officer the story of the client’s relationship and giving an air of credibility and truth to it.
If you have more specific questions about sponsorship appeals, feel free to contact our firm at:
KathyZhang Law Firm
200-105520 Ave NW
Calgary, Alberta T2M 1E7