After more than 1 year of work, we were successful with the Sponsorship appeal at the IRB-IAD. This was a complex case with many issues. The Sponsor is significantly older than the Applicant. The Visa Officer had many concerns regarding whether the marriage was genuine and refused their Spousal Sponsorship application. While maintaining our client’s confidentiality, here are some of the basic facts:
- In the past, the Applicant was also refused multiple Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) applications to Canada.
- The Applicant proposed after meeting the Sponsor twice
- The Officer had concerns over a “language barrier”
- The Officer had concerns the Applicant proposed for “money”
There were a few other issues that I will not disclose to protect my client’s privacy.
I want to thank all the people who made this positive decision possible. We spent many (many!) hours with the Sponsor and the Applicant, going over all the concerns identified in GCMS and addressing each point. We also worked with six (6) witnesses, from each side of this application to prepare their testimony and to make sure all the testimony would be consistent at the hearing. In this case, we prepared our witnesses for more than 10 hours of testimony. The IAD ended up hearing more than 5 hours of testimony before Minister’s Counsel consented to the appeal.
IAD appeals are hearings de novo. That means that Member Tucci was able to consider all the legal elements of this application based on all the events prior to 22 MARCH 2021. This is a huge advantage to Appellants who are not limited to the period of time prior to the Officer’s decision.
I have to admit, I lost sleep over this appeal. In 13 years, I have never lost an IAD appeal. Back in 2007/2008, when I was an articling student, the Bay Street firm gave me an IAD appeal for “experience”. I was supposed to lose. It was supposed to be for litigation experience. Instead, I won the Sponsorship Appeal and I have still never lost an appeal.
These appeals are very challenging. In general, Visa Officers do not make these decisions without a thorough examination & investigation. The Sponsor and the Applicant must satisfy the tribunal that all the issues have been addressed. This requires hours and hours of work.
For anyone reading who may be thinking of starting a Sponsorship Appeal to the IAD, my best advice: PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE.
In this case, we arranged many hearing preparation sessions with the Sponsor, the Applicant and the witnesses, both those witnesses inside of Canada and abroad. Testimony does not come naturally and it is very important to focus on the questions. Cross-examinations can be rough.
Here is a guide that we use to prepare our clients for their testimony. This is an EXAMPLE only:
Q. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THIS MARRIAGE?BAD ANSWER:They have a perfect marriage. He is a wonderful guy.GOOD ANSWER:I have known this couple for 5 years. I was a little cautious when I met her because I did not want him to get hurt. He has been hurt in the past and I did not want that to happen again. I have seen them together many times, at restaurants and movies. They have talked about how they want 12 children together and they want to raise them according to Jewish custom. She converted to Judaism so their children would be Jewish.GREAT ANSWER:I met him when we worked at AT&T back in 2010. He dated our coworker Diana but it didn’t work out because she cheated on him. I helped him through some difficult times. He met Alexandra at Palomino Club in 2014. I was there when they met and I have tried to support him as a friend. When I saw him with Alexandra, it was clear they had strong chemistry. They talked for hours every day. It turns out they both share a passion for learning new languages. They both speak 4 languages and they sometimes write love letters in Esperanto. In 2016, he told me that he was going to propose and I helped him pick out the perfect ring. We had the jeweller inscribe Esperanto on the inside of her ring. I was at their gorgeous fall wedding on September 17, 2017 with more than 200 guests. It was a joyous celebration and I loved every minute. He has said that he wants to move to Manitoba because they want to be close with her family. I met her sisters Jackie and Diane at the wedding and they have fully embraced him as part of their family. I have seen their ups and downs over the past 5 years and I fully support this marriage.
We hope the information above is helpful for you. This is not legal advice. Appeals are difficult and we would strongly recommend that you find a lawyer whom you trust.