If you are applying to become a temporary or permanent resident in Canada, learning that your application has been refused can be devastating.

Fortunately, you may have recourse. An immigration officer’s decision to refuse an application may be challenged if the decision was wrong in fact or in law, or unreasonable with regards to the facts at hand and the quality of the file presented to the officers. Depending on the facts of the case, it can also be a rightful decision, but one that can be overturned in light of humanitarian considerations.

All decisions taken by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada that affect an application can be presented to the Federal Court, which will first decide if the case merits a hearing (prima facie unreasonable) or if it raises an important question of Law. An example of this could be a work or study permit application that is refused despite substantial evidence that could favour its approval.

The refusal of an application for permanent residence can also be contested before the Immigration Appeal Division, in the case of refused sponsorships, for example. The refusal of an application for permanent residence can also be contested before the Federal Court, as would be the case for a refused skilled worker application.

If warranted in your particular situation the following can be done:

  • Reconsideration letters. If the refusal was based on an error in fact or in law, and/or if that decision was not in accordance with the principles of procedural fairness, a letter can be written to the program manager of the Canadian Visa Office in question to point out the errors and to request a reconsideration of the refusal.
  • If no response is received or a negative response is received, the appropriate legal proceedings can be pursued if the case appears to be worth pursuing:
  1. For applications rejected by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada at the federal level, resources are usually presented before the Immigration Appeal Division or the Federal Court.
  2. For applications rejected by the Ministère de l’immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion (Quebec only, for permanent immigration applications), recourses are usually presented before the Tribunal administratif du Québec or the Superior Court of Quebec.

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