The Residency Appeal Process
Residency obligation appeals are initiated by filing a Notice of Appeal to the local office of the Immigration Appeal Division. If the appellant is not in Canada then they should file the appeal through the office that serves the place of their last residency in Canada.
Once the appeal is filed the immigration authorities will produce a tribunal record. The record will contain a copy of the appellant’s immigration application and the computer notes of the immigration officer who refused the application, providing a detailed explanation for the refusal decision.
The IAD will review the record to see if the case is straight-forward or simple enough to be resolved at an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) conference. An ADR conference is a meeting between the appellant and the lawyer for the immigration department to see if the case can be settled without the need to go to a full hearing. If the IAD believes the case is suitable for an ADR, they will invite the appellant to provide submissions explaining why their case should be allowed to go to an ADR. The Minister may also provide submissions. If the IAD schedules an ADR then this usually occurs within a few months of the appeal being filed and provides an opportunity for an early resolution of the case.
If there is no ADR, or the ADR is unsuccessful, the case will go to a full hearing before an IAD judge, known as a Member.
Residency Appeal Hearings before the IAD
Hearings before the IAD are similar to a court hearing in that there will be a presiding Member, a prosecutor who represents the immigration department (called a Minister’s Representative) and the appellant and their representative if they have one. The process is adversarial and it will be up to the appellant to prove their case on the balance of probabilities. The appellant will testify and is able to call other witnesses to testify, bring new evidence in support of their case, and can be represented by a lawyer who can lead the testimony and make legal submissions on the appellant’s behalf.
Decisions made by the immigration authorities that a permanent resident has lost his or her permanent residence for failure to meet the residency requirement are generally challenged on two major grounds.
- First, the decision can be challenged on a legal basis if the immigration authorities incorrectly assessed the period of time that the appellant was outside of Canada, or failed to properly consider one of the exception categories.
- Second, if the decision is correct in law, then the appeal can be made on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.