Application refused? Consider a request for reconsideration

Application refused? Consider a request for reconsideration

By Adam Hummel / Immigration Lawyer

A lot of effort goes into an application for Canadian immigration purposes. Whether it is a study or work permit, or application for permanent residence, these applications can take months of preparation and document collection, significant government processing fees, and more months of waiting for a response.

So, what happens if after all this time and money, your application gets refused? Well, it is important to know that a first refusal is not always a final refusal.

There are essentially two options available to you if your immigration application gets refused.

The first, is a request for reconsideration, which will be addressed in this blog post. The second option, is bringing an application for leave and judicial review to the Federal Court, which is slightly more involved, and will be discussed in a later post.

Authority for being able to reconsider a refused application

A request for reconsideration is basically an informal request that can be submitted to the decision-maker of a refused application after the refusal decision is received. It is an opportunity for an applicant to either point out a mistake or oversight committed by the decision maker, or advise the decision maker of new evidence which was not available at the time when the refusal was made.

The ability to request reconsideration has existed for a number of years. The authority to request reconsideration, and have your request considered by a visa officer comes from the case Kurukkal v. Canada (MCI) .

In Kurukkal, an application for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds (H&C grounds) was refused. The applicant wrote back to the officer who refused the application and asked him to reconsider. The officer refused on the basis that the final decision was made, and that he, the decision-maker, had no more authority on the matter (in latin functus officio).

At the Federal Court of Appeal, it was held that this principle of functus officio does not strictly apply in non-adjudicative administrative proceedings. This means that the decision maker has the discretion to review a request for reconsideration, and decide whether to grant the request or not.