The Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) is the division of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) that is tasked with hearing appeals on immigration matters involving Canadian citizens or permanent residents. This includes sponsorship appeals, removal order appeals and residency obligation appeals. The Government can also appeal select decisions to the IAD relating to inadmissibility.
Making an Appeal to the IAD
The appeal process begins when an immigration official refuses your family sponsorship application or permanent resident (PR) card renewal/permanent resident travel document (PRTD) application. It can also begin with the issuance of a removal order.
In the case of sponsorship appeals, Canadian citizens and permanent residents can appeal applications to sponsor close family members to Canada that were refused by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). However, you will not be eligible to appeal a sponsorship application to the IAD where the foreign applicant was found to be inadmissible to Canada.
If you are interested in learning more about how to make a Family Sponsorship Appeal, please check out our post on 7 Steps on How to Appeal a Rejected Family Sponsorship Application.
For residency obligations appeals, permanent residents can appeal a determination by an immigration officer that they have not to have fulfilled their residency obligation when their applications to renew their PR card or receive a PRTD was refused.
Removal orders can be appealed by a Convention Refugee or Protected Person, a permanent resident of Canada, or a foreign national with a permanent resident visa.
If you decide to appeal an order or decision made by an immigration official, you must file a Notice to Appeal form to the IAD within a certain timeframe and meet all of the deadlines in the course of preparing for your hearing. Deadlines to file a Notice to Appeal differ depending on the type of matter at issue. For sponsorship appeals and removal orders, you have 30 days from the date you received the IRCC refusal letter or the removal order. For residency obligation appeals, permanent residents have 60 days from the date they received the written refusal of the application.
The Appeal Process
If you decide to appeal to the IAD and have filed a Notice to Appeal form to the correct IAD region, you will receive confirmation of the appeal with your file number. As the person making the appeal, you will be referred to as the appellant. The IRCC will be referred to as the Minister or the respondent and they will be represented by an officer from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Once the appeal is filed, the IAD will request a copy of the appeal record from the Minister. The appeal record contains all the information related to the decision. The Minister must provide it to you and to the IAD within 120 days from the date requested. The record will be in evidence at the hearing.
Residency Obligation Appeal
As a permanent resident of Canada, you are expected to meet certain residency requirements in order to maintain that status. If you have been found not to have complied with your permanent residency obligations by failing to be physically present in Canada for at least 2 years in a 5-year period, you will be notified that your status is at risk. Failure to appeal will mean that the loss of your permanent resident status is final.
In order to be successful at your appeal, you can either prove that you did meet the residency obligation, state that your being outside of Canada falls within one of the exemption categories where time abroad is counted as time in Canada, or show that there are sufficient humanitarian and compassionate grounds to justify your non-compliance.
In all circumstances, you must provide either witnesses or documents to support your case. In all cases, appellants should be prepared to show the IAD that there are sufficient humanitarian and compassionate grounds to allow your appeal. Some humanitarian and compassionate factors that the IAD may consider in reaching a decision are:
- The reasons why you left Canada and why you remained outside Canada so long
- Whether you tried to return to live in Canada as soon as you could
- If you left as a child, whether you tried to return as soon as you turned 18.
You can submit letters of support from family or friends, identity documents of relevant/affected family members, as well as financial or medical documents. Once you have gathered the relevant documentation you can move onto the next part of the appeals process.
Immigration appeal cases can vary in complexity; however, it is important to consider hiring an experienced legal representative to assist you with your appeal. The immigration authorities will have their own very skilled lawyer to argue against you and your case. If you don’t have your own experienced immigration lawyer advocating for your interests, it could be challenging to counter their legal arguments.