At first, applying for something like a study permit seems simple. The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website provides a guide and document checklist for study permits or any other application; one would assume these requirements would be all an applicant would have to satisfy.
But as Now Toronto’s Reasonable Doubt column explains, many issues that an immigration officer may consider when making a decision aren’t addressed in the guide or checklist at all: “Insufficient family ties to the home country; presence of family ties in Canada; absence of employment prospects in the home country; purpose of visit” and more may be considered as well. These factors can be found in the Program Delivery Instructions, which every immigration officer receives and which applicants can find if they do some digging on the IRCC website in the section for Operational Bulletins and Manuals.
Even if applicants know about these instructions, however, they still have to contend with the often arbitrary reasons an officer may find to reject their application. And there’s no efficient and cost-effective means by which to contest these decisions. Requesting that the officer reconsider is allowed, but if they gave the negative decision in the first place, the likelihood of them changing their minds is low. Appeals can only be done through federal court, and that requires the funds for a lawyer and the patience and privilege to wait to be heard, with no guarantees of success even if the case is heard and ruled in favour of by a judge. And re-applying, while granting something of a new opportunity, leaves the applicant back where they started before all the work that went into their first attempt, not to mention facing the possibility of another refusal they can’t predict by a different officer. And past refusals will look bad on an applicant’s future applications to come to Canada, even if they aren’t related to studying.
These issues aren’t limited to study permits, either. Applicants are always at a disadvantage when dealing with Immigration on their own, because the power and knowledge are both in the hands of the government, and the officer reviewing an application has far less to gain or lose than the applicant. The immigration officer is part of the system that the applicant is trying to work with and therefore knows how to navigate the system, while the applicant is a newcomer to the maze of Immigration forms and lists.
One way to help level the playing field is to seek representation. A regulated Canadian immigration consultant (RCIC) can provide legal knowledge and support through this difficult process, making dealing with Immigration less stressful and helping to improve the chances of success. With many years of experience, we know what to anticipate from Immigration officials, and we build your case based on its individual merits, going beyond the checklist provided by Immigration in order to successfully advocate on your behalf.
If you’re hoping to come to Canada and need help submitting an application, contact us.