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Ask Tito Mike by Michael Scott  

Do not expect immigration assessors

to warn you about shortcomings

by Michael Scott

Is IRCC responsible for informing you (the applicant) about the shortcomings or weaknesses of your application? The federal government does give you a decision that, at times, can lead you to ask why they did not inform you about this earlier in the process. Did the department fail you in this regard so that you misunderstood their role and the limits of their service? A recent ruling by a Canadian court has added a third-party judgment to this question and reminded us of the federal government’s responsibility in this matter as well as that of the applicant.

The recent court decision concerns one user who was not satisfied by the service they received on an application for a work permit, and they challenged the IRCC refusal decision in court. The question they challenged was about procedural fairness under administrative law. The case concerned a citizen of Iran who applied for a work permit under the International Mobility Program, which is a program for entrepreneurs and self-employed persons seeking to start and operate a business in Canada. We are very much a country of laws, but we are also subject to the decisions of the courts.

The reviewing officer noted that the applicant’s business plan indicated an initial investment of $138,600 CAD, but the applicant’s bank balance only showed a balance of $150,000 CAD. Based on this material fact the officer was not satisfied that the proposed business venture would represent a reasonable expense. The applicant’s projected sales estimates within the first year were high but not supported by evidence of potential contracts or clients. The officer concluded that the applicant did not present a viable business plan and refused the work permit.

The applicant applied for judicial review of the refusal decision, arguing that the officer’s refusal was unreasonable and that he was denied procedural fairness. He argued that he possessed the necessary background and skills to make the proposed business successful. The applicant said he has other resources in Iran worth over two million dollars.

The court found that the officer’s concerns were based on the evidence submitted in the application, which were provided by the applicant himself. There was no reference in the initial submission to other monies and the officer was correct in judging the submission by the evidence on hand. The court noted that the officer was not responsible to advise the applicant of the shortcomings and weakness or other concerns in the application. The officer’s responsibility was limited to judging what was present in the plan and the supporting documents.

The judgment of the court in this case is a reminder to all applicants to ensure that their submission includes all related documentary evidence. It is important for all applicants to understand that the immigration officers are responsible to judge what is submitted based on completeness, honesty, and on the requirements of the program, such as the business plan and financing potential in this case.

The findings of the federal court are instructive to us all to be aware that users must take responsibility for what they submit. If you err or misunderstand, it is not the responsibility of the immigration assessors to contact you and forewarn you about the shortcomings of your submission. If you present a weak case, such as the one discussed earlier, do not be surprised if the submission is refused.

Canada is a country of laws, but applicants have the responsibility to submit honest, complete, and compelling submissions, and to take responsibility for their submissions. If you err or make a weak submission do not blame the federal assessors for a negative decision. In the case listed above, the applicant could or should have included the two million dollars he claimed on appeal. If he had included this information, he probably would have been approved. I hope he learned this valuable lesson and will resubmit with a new business plan supported by evidence of his total financial worth.

Michael Scott is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC, R525678) who has 30 years of experience with Immigration Canada and the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program. He currently works as a licensed consultant with Immigration Connexion International Ltd. Contact him at 204-691-1166 or 204-227-0292. E-mail: