What is a procedural fairness letter?
A procedural fairness letter is a formal written statement sent by the Canadian government to a person or organization that might be impacted by a choice or course of action under consideration.
You may have received correspondence from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) requesting additional documents or further information about yourself or your application. This request will come by either email or letter. It will state that there is an issue with your application and they need you to clarify certain concerns.
The purpose of the procedural fairness letter is to give the recipient a fair and reasonable chance to respond and offer more information that could be helpful before a final decision is made.
If you receive correspondence like this, it is imperative that you respond or your application may be refused. Failing to respond or failing to adequately address their concerns can have far reaching consequences, it is strongly recommended that you obtain help from an experienced immigration lawyer.
Why did I receive a procedural fairness letter?
A procedural fairness letter may be issued when an immigration officer has concerns over aspects of an application or an applicant’s admissibility which may lead to a refusal or an allegation of misrepresentation. Some potential concerns that can lead to a procedural fairness letter are as follows:
- Genuineness of your relationship in a spousal sponsorship application;
- Medical inadmissibility, if the applicant or an accompanying family member has a health condition that is deemed to cause excessive demand on governmental services;
- Criminal inadmissibility, if the applicant or an accompanying family member has a serious criminal charge or conviction that affects their admissibility into Canada;
- Accidentally or deliberately providing false information in your application leading to an allegation of misrepresentation;
- Security / human rights concerns relating to an applicant’s previous position in a government, military, or organization involved in human rights violations, international crime, terrorism, or espionage;
- Credibility concerns regarding employment experience or educational accreditation.
In all those cases, the IRCC does not believe that the application requirements or the overall admissibility requirements for entry into Canada have been met. A procedural fairness letter allows an applicant to provide additional documentation and substantive arguments to address an officer’s concern. This is a singular opportunity that should not be wasted.
Responding to a procedural fairness letter
Regardless of the specific concern, it is important to read all the arguments in the letter so you can adequately address all concerns put forth by the immigration officer. As your response can affect the overall success of your application, it is important to provide all necessary documents and detailed arguments to support your position. Failing to take your response seriously, especially in cases where an immigration officer is alleging misrepresentation or inadmissibility, can result in the applicant being banned from entering Canada for five years. Misrepresentation is a serious allegation and an applicant can be found guilty if it is proven that they provided information that is fraudulent, inaccurate or misleading in the application.
Typically, the IRCC will give you 30 days to respond to their concerns. If you need more time to gather all necessary documents, you can request an extension. You just need to provide a response within the allotted time frame.
How We Can Help
Procedural fairness letters can be exceedingly complicated and can have far reaching consequences if not addressed properly. If you have received a letter asking you to provide additional information or clarify concerns, contact an experienced immigration lawyer before you respond. An experienced lawyer can increase your chances of getting a successful outcome.
The Immigration Law Office of Matthew Jeffery has over 20 years of experience. We specialize in complex cases with high success rates. Please CONTACT US today to see whether we can assist you with your immigration matters.