Canadian Citizenship Revocation
Canada Citizenship Immigration Application and Refusal Revocation
Naturalised Canadian citizens can lose their Canadian citizenship if they obtained it by false representation or fraud or knowingly concealing material circumstances in the citizenship application process or in the process of obtaining permanent residence. Those suspected of having obtained their citizenship in a fraudulent manner will be given due process before their citizenship is revoked. This would mean, at a minimum, notice of the allegations and disclosure of the evidence against them, and an opportunity to respond in writing before a final decision is made. The process will be initiated by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, but the citizenship has the option of having the final decision made by either the Minister or the Federal Court.
Latest Changes to the Citizenship Revocation Process
New provisions for citizenship revocation came into force on January 24, 2018. Any individual facing possible revocation can now choose to have the case heard and decided by the Federal Court or the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. This move is aimed at enhancing fairness in the citizenship revocation process by giving individuals a chance to have their case heard by an independent judicial body.
How Citizenship Revocation Begins
Before initiating revocation proceedings the citizenship authorities will typically send a “Request for Information Letter” detailing the allegations against the citizen in a concise form and providing them with 30 days to respond. Based on the response, the citizenship authorities will decide whether to begin the formal process of revoking citizenship.
If a decision is made to commence citizenship revocation proceedings, the IRCC will issue a formal “Notification Letter Concerning Your Canadian Citizenship.” This letter typically provides 60 days to provide written submissions and documentary evidence to be considered before a final decision is made. The submissions can describe your personal circumstances, including, but not limited to:
- Length of time spent in Canada before and after acquiring citizenship;
- Establishment and connection to Canada before and after becoming a citizen;
- The presence of family in Canada;
- The best interest of a child directly affected by the revocation proceeding;
- Whether the decision could render the citizen stateless;
- A description of any hardships that the citizen may experience if their citizenship is revoked;
- Any hardship in the home country if the citizen is returned there.
If the IRCC decides to continue to pursue revocation after reviewing submissions, the case will be forwarded to the Federal Court for a decision to be made unless the individual requests that the decision be made by the Immigration Minister.
If the decision maker is the Minister then the revocation process now includes an additional step where the officials will review all the submitted cases and decide whether an oral hearing is required. A hearing may be scheduled if there is a serious issue of credibility, or if the citizen is unable to provide submissions in writing.
Where the decision-maker is the Minister then the Minister must consider all of the circumstances of the case before making a decision. This means that any fraud that occurred is only a threshold issue of whether there is a basis for revocation. Having found fraud the Minister must also consider the citizen’s personal circumstances including any humanitarian and compassionate factors such as the hardship that would be caused to the citizen and his or her family before coming to a conclusion as to whether citizenship should be revoked.
If the citizen requests that the Federal Court decide the case then the matter will proceed as an action at the court. The Minister only needs to prove that a fraud occurred for the revocation to proceed. This process is therefore more suited to those individuals who hope to prove that they did not commit a fraud, whereas the process before the Minister is more suited to those who intend to rely on humanitarian and compassionate considerations.
Appealing a Revocation of Citizenship Decision to the Federal Court
Individuals who requested that the Minister of Immigration be the decision-maker in their case may seek leave to judicially review the Minister’s decision at the Federal Court if the Minister decides to revoke their citizenship. The process begins by filing an application to the Federal Court for “leave” which means that the applicant must persuade the court that the Minister’s decision is debatable and that there is a real issue that the decision was made erroneously. This is not an “appeal” in that no new evidence can be provided nor is there any testimony from witnesses. The court will review the decision in light of the evidence that was before the decision maker and will decide if the decision was arrived at legally. The applicant must file the application for leave to begin the application for judicial review within thirty (30) days of the refusal letter. If leave is granted, the matter is heard by the court in an oral hearing at the Federal Court. The Court can either uphold the decision or quash it and return it to the citizenship authorities for redetermination.
Decisions made by the Federal Court to revoke citizenship are final unless the Court certifies a question for consideration by the Federal Court of Appeal.
The Effect of Citizenship Revocation
The effect of revocation varies from case to case. Those who perpetrated a fraud in the citizenship application process will lose their citizenship and revert to being permanent residents. However, those who perpetrated a fraud in the process of obtaining their permanent residence will lose both their citizenship and their permanent residence and will revert to being foreign nationals, or in some cases, will be rendered stateless. Those who lose all status will then be subject to removal proceedings. The revocation of citizenship is a serious matter and involves complex legal proceedings that will permanently affect an individual’s status in Canada. The Law Office of Matthew Jeffery can assist those going through the revocation of citizenship process. Please contact us for further information.
The Law Office of Matthew Jeffery, Barrister and Solicitor, has years of experience assisting clients with all types of citizenship matters. If you need help with your citizenship case.
Please contact us for further information.