Success: Tribunal appeal

Tribunal appeals are entirely dependent on the facts and the decison under review. We have handled appeals where the Officer or Decision-Maker has clearly made a mistake in law and/or fact. In some cases, we need to fix a mistake made by the tribunal. These cases still require significant work to lay out all the issues in a clear and concise manner for the appeal to succeed; however, these have a good chance at success. Other cases are more complex and when we submit our package for the appeal, we cross our fingers and hope that our arguments are strong enough for a positive decision. This case fell in the latter category and we are very pleased to report our tribunal appeal was granted.tribunal appeal

Tribunal Appeal to the RAD

The RAD deals with decisions made by the RPD. In this case, we represented this family at the RPD and their claim for protection was refused. Based on the documentation and testimony at the tribunal, this was a complex case; however, in my view, they met the definition per section 96 or 97 of IRPA. The RPD Member disagreed and refused their claim.

We submitted significant legal arguments to the RAD and we were successful upon appeal. In the decision, the RAD Member Jennifer Moore clearly agreed with our arguments:

[15] The Appellants argue that the RPD misinterpreted the evidence about adoption in Igbo culture, and that it failed to sufficiently consider the actual risk faced by the Appellants based on their particular circumstances. I agree and find that the suggestion made by the RPD, that the Appellants could simply adopt a child from one of their siblings to be confusing and is not supported by any of the evidence. Even if a sibling was prepared to supply a child, the Appellants provided evidence that adopted children are not considered the same as biological children in Igbo culture.

The decision by the RAD is extremely detailed and analyses the country condition evidence as well as the documents and testimony for this particular case.

Alastair Clarke has appeared before the tribunal hundreds of times over the past 13 years. He has also given numerous training sessions for lawyers and advocates. Of note, the IRB has made requests for Mr. Clarke to give advice to lawyers in Manitoba to raise the level of representation in our province. He has also presented alongside representatives from UNHCR to give training to lawyers. Tribunal appeal work is not easy; however, positive results are extremely rewarding.

When we told our clients of the RAD decision, they screamed with joy. We are happy to help.

 

Fix Tribunal Mistakes

Normally, we are focused on getting positive results. That is where we spend most of our time & energy. Today, for example, we had a client approved under the MPNP program and he received a Nomination Certificate. Even during a pandemic, we are able to celebrate victories and we get results for all our hard work. In other cases, however, we get a positive result and there is a mistake made by the Officer or the Tribunal.

Tribunal mistakes are not common. This was the case in March 2021. We got a positive decision from the IRB for our clients and they were on their way to getting Permanent Resident (PR) status. The problem was that the tribunal misspelled our client’s name. This can lead to serious problems in the future.

Tribunal Mistake

For immigration, the importance of detail cannot be overstated. Everyday, we focus on making sure all the documents and evidence are 100% true and consistent. To be clear, it is not good enough if the information is only 99% accurate. We hold ourselves to the highest standard to ensure that our clients do not have future issues, based on our work.

For this case, we contacted the Tribunal and explained the mistake. The RPD Member reviewed the situation and issued an Amended Decision with the accurate information. Now our clients can apply for PR status and they know that their information in the government’s records are correct.

Tribunal mistakes can be fixed. I want to be clear that the IRB rarely makes mistakes. There are many layers of professionals at the tribunal who vet and review documents before they are issued. In this case, the RPD Member’s decision was sent to the Case Management Officer who had to sign off on the decision before it was issued. Personally, I have given presentations with IRB staff to make sure the public and other lawyers are aware of how the tribunal operates.

You cannot see our client’s information as we need to redact all their personal information to protect their confidentiality. I can say that the tribunal mistake was minor and it was corrected.

We did this extra work for our clients at no additional charge. We strive to provide the best service, for reasonable fees. This family can apply for PR status and Canada is a better place.

Success: Refugees In Canada

Good end to a tough year. We just got this positive decision from the IRB-RPD, granting refugee status to our clients from Somalia. I do not normally publish RPD decisions on this site as the hearings are “private” and we need to maintain confidentiality. We must make sure that we redact all the personal information to protect our clients. We did share a RAD appeal in 2020 on another important case. We have represented hundreds, if not thousands, of refugee claimants over the past 13 years and this work is vital. Our work is to save lives.

refugees

I will say that this case was quite different and very challenging. To be honest, this was a tough case and I was not sure of the decision even after the RPD hearing. This Somali family came to us after a previous refusal by a different RPD Member. At that time, they had a bad lawyer who did not give them enough support and he did not properly support or prepare the claimant for the hearing. She was not able to provide sound testimony to the tribunal. She made mistakes in her answers and she did not listen to the RPD Member’s questions. There were many things the representative could have done to help but he lacks the experience and understanding. The RPD Member refused their refugee claim and the decision was scathing.

This family came to us to do the RAD appeal. Thank you to Welcome Place for giving her a good referral. We take referrals very seriously and it is comforting to know that we have earned the trust of the staff at Welcome Place (Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council). We were able to show the problems of the previous representative and we could show the RPD Member was not able to make a decision based on all the evidence. We won the appeal to the RAD and we were awarded a new hearing at the RPD.

If you are aware of the system, there is no guarantee that a positive decision from the RAD will guarantee a positive decision from the RPD. After 2 years, this family had already been through a lot. We prepped them for the appeal with the help of their community and interpreters who donated their time and skills. We were able to explain to them that they must listen to the questions at the RPD, answer the questions with clear, detailed explanations. If they do not an answer, they can simply say, “I don’t know”. If they are asked about certain events, they must only talk about what they know and refrain from guessing. It does not help when claimants give testimony on topics they do not know.

After 2 years of work, we got this positive decision. We helped to save more lives.

Success: MPNP PFL

We love the MPNP program. It has been said many times that it is the best PNP in Canada and it is a great program for many skilled workers both inside Manitoba and abroad. In some cases, the MPNP Officer may have concerns and those concerns must be made clear to the applicant(s). These concerns are stated in an MPNP Procedural Fairness Letter (PFL). We have helped many clients reply to PFLs over the years. In 2020, we helped a Chinese family who had serious issues. These are highly skilled professionals who accepted employment with a small business in Manitoba that did not keep good employment records. Their employer’s records caused problems with their MPNP application.

MPNP PFL

We worked closely with this family and their employer. We provided a strong package to support the discrepancies and we provided a clear explanation. In the end, the MPNP Officer accepted our explanation and this family is back on track to Permanent Resident status.

Procedural Fairness Letters (PFLs) are complex. They are issued when an issue/ concern has been identified by an Officer. We strongly urge any applicant who has received a PFL to seek and retain an immigration lawyer to help.

We also love feedback from clients. I know there are fraudulent reviews on Google from individuals who have never had contact with our team. Thankfully, almost all our reviews are from genuine clients who help our readers. Here is what this client wrote:

After 8 months awaiting for my MPNP apllication, we got a negative result by the PFL letter. I was engaged a misrepresentation for my application because of some mistakes were pointed out by MPNP office. I had thought that it would be end of my immigration to Canada until one of my friend recommend me to contact Clarke Law. Their proffesional work and expertise help us quickly address the reasons and prepared documents to reply the PFL letter. After 14 months from my initial submit my MPNP application, I finally got a approval letter for my application, I don’t know how to describe but I am thanksful for Clarke Law bring a hope to us. I would recommend Clarke Law for your immigration chanllenges if you have any.

We have helped many clients with MPNP issues and we look forward to building Manitoba’s economy. We also assist with the MPNP BIS stream and other MPNP paths to PR status.

Success: Residency Appeal

We love ending the year with positive results. We also love helping clients with IAD appeals. With much work, we were able to achieve these positive results so that our client could get back to her job at the United Nations. She has been doing amazing work with her project and it was a privilege to help this family through this difficult appeal. 2020 has been a difficult year, objectively speaking. It is nice to end the year with an approval from this Residency Appeal to the IRB-IAD.

IAD Approval

In this case, our client received bad legal advice from an immigration consultant in Toronto. Unfortunately, she relied on this bad advice and it led to significant problems. We submitted multiple packages of documents in support of this appeal and this was a team effort at Clarke Immigration Law.

We still have a couple more weeks before 2021. We will continue to work hard everyday and hopefully we can get more positive results before the end of the year. We reported another Residency appeal success at the beginning of 2020. We love celebrating and we love helping our clients.

As an aside, Alastair cannot even remember how many IAD appeals he has won over the past 13 years. For the first IAD appeal, he was a Student-at-Law (Articling student) and he was given an “unwinnable” case. At the time, the partner of the firm gave him the file “for experience” as he was just starting his legal career. In fact, he was the first Articling student to handle an IAD appeal. Indeed, it was good experience and he was able to use a technical legal argument to win the day. The IAD appeal was heard on 3 OCT 2007 and we received the positive decision in early 2008. After that decision, IRCC (then CIC) changed the law and closed that legal loophole.

To date, we would estimate that we have won more than 50 appeals to the IAD. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these appeals are private decisions and they are not publicly reported. We have included a redacted copy of the recent Residency appeal decision with personal information redacted to protect our client’s identity.

Clarke Immigration Law specializes in hearings and appeals. If you have a complex Residency Appeal and you would like assistance with your IAD appeal, please contact our office. 

 

 

Success: PR by Email

Congratulations to our Cuban spouse who just became a PR by Email! He was sponsored by his lovely Canadian partner and it has been a pleasure to work with them during this process. COVID-19 has caused additional stress and anxiety across the immigration system, as I recently testified to the Parliamentary CIMM Committee. I have to give credit to IRCC for making improvements and for all their hard work. We live in unprecedented times and the government has been working hard to address pandemic issues, as they arise. For more details, click here. 

PR by Email

PR by email is certainly nice.

No interview. No stress. This family has been a pleasure to work with and we had no doubt their SCLPC Class application with OWP would be approved. We made sure all the issues were covered and we provided evidence on every point. That said, every case is different and this one had its challenges.

I want to thank Naomi, in particular, for working on this application and getting the package ready to submit. Our team works closely to put these applications together to ensure positive results. Not all clients receive PR by email; however, I agree that this application warranted this action.

Immigration is a serious matter and applications to IRCC must be taken with the utmost care and attention.  CONGRATS to our client! Canada is a better place with him and his family.

Success: Crim Rehab

After years of work, including multiple Temporary Resident Permits (TRPs), we successfully applied for Criminal Rehabilitation (Crim Rehab) for our client who had multiple criminal convictions in his past. These applications are never easy and the Officer at the border has significant discretionary decision making power at the POE. We did not want to have to wait for this client to be eligible for “deemed rehabilitation” as he has strong connections to Canada. Alastair is an expert in crimimmigration – the intersection between criminal justice and immigration.

Justice is at the core of our legal system and criminality may have a strong impact on immigration. This means that individuals who are convicted and have served their sentences may not be inadmissible to Canada and they may be allowed to enter if they are successful with a “rehabilitation” application according to immigration laws and regulations. In this case, we were retained by a foreign national with five (5) criminal convictions from different incidents in his past. These convictions, and a series of other events, led to a separation of family and hardship; however, after a boatload of work and strong supporting documentation,Crim Rehab we were successful with our Criminal Rehabilitation application (Crim rehab), submitted at the Canadian Port of Entry. We were able to review the application with a Superintendent prior to our client traveling to the border for a non-binding preliminary assessment. Our client got a positive decision from the Officer after only 4 hours.

In many cases, past criminal convictions are the result of bad decisions made in youth that were affected by alcohol and/or peer pressure. The Supreme Court of Canada has considered similar situations and they have provided instructions to Officers on how to make these decisions. This case was one of those cases. Our client was completely upfront about exactly what happened and how it affected his life. He demonstrated significant changes in his behaviour and he showed genuine remorse.

Our client was thoroughly prepared by our office. As with all our cases, be prepared, be prepared, be prepared! We spent hours on this application, gave him a mock interview and prepared a strong package of evidence. At the border, he passed multiple interviews and the Officers went through our package very carefully.

In the end, our client’s application was granted and he no longer needs to worry about inadmissibility to Canada. He is now with his family members in Canada, subject to the Quarantine Act and he is taking COVID-19 seriously. It has been a pleasure to work with this family and it has been very emotional. For our office, it is very important that we build a perfect application and make sure 100% of the potential issues are covered. I will say that the Officer even said to our client that our application was the best Criminal Rehabilitation application he had reviewed. Thank you Officer! Good decision!

 

Success: Study Permit

As the saying goes, third time is the charm. An international student at Brandon University entered our office, almost in tears. She had hired an immigration consultation (bad choice, of course) who submitted a Study Permit on her behalf. It had been refused and she was told to leave Canada. The situation in her home country has deteriorated and her family’s business was greatly affected. As we are dealing with the effects of COVID-19, these situations are not uncommon. We were able to help her get back on track and she was able to resume her studies. Another successful application. I wish her all the best.

Study Permit

The description above is a brief summary of the case. Once we were retained as her representatives, we submitted an ATIP to review her GCMS Notes. We discovered her previous immigration consultant submitted two Study Permits on her behalf. This incompetent representative only told her about the first application. She submitted the same documents to IRCC and, unsurprisingly, the applicant received a second refusal.

Our Study Permit application was this applicant’s 3rd attempt. We were able to show sufficient documentation related to her family’s dire situation and evidence that she is a genuine student, despite her hardship. The IRCC Officer accepted our submissions and she was able to go back to Brandon University.

I remember meeting former Minister of IRCC John McCallum when he came to Winnipeg. He is, in fact, a former professor at the University of Manitoba. He has asserted many times that international students are strong applicants and IRCC should support their dreams of Permanent Resident status. In my view, many IRCC Officers want to support students; however, if they hire incompetent immigration consultants, it is very difficult for IRCC to help.

Success: Request for Reconsideration

We specialize in fixing messes. A businessman came to us with 2 previous TRV refusals. He hired an immigration consultant to help him and, as you can imagine, it was a poor decision. It should have been an easy TRV application. His son is an international student at the University of Manitoba. His wife has a valid TRV and she is able to come and go from Canada as much as she likes. The consultant, however, messed up his application and he was denied. Then the consultant offered to “fix” the application at no additional fees and, I suppose, the businessman thought this would be a good option as it did not cost him any more money. The second TRV was also refused. The Applicant’s decision did not cost money but it meant that he could not visit his son in Manitoba.

Request for Reconsideration

We took the case and we cleaned up the mess. We were able to put together a strong TRV application that addressed the issues for the previous refusals. The Visa Officer refused, as expected, due to the previous refusals. We then made a Request for Reconsideration and we were able to connect with a Manager who gave our application proper attention. Finally, after much work, the TRV was approved.

Fixing messes is not an easy task. In this case, we were able to build a good application and the immigration consultant was clearly incompetent. In fact, when Alastair was on vacation in Toronto, he stopped by the consultant’s address to check out the office. It was a fake address. This consultant specializes in signing clients from Dubai, UAE who cannot see that his office is fake. He is registered with ICCRC and we could not find any previous complaints. Our client opted not to file a complaint because he did not want to get further involved and he was worried that it may impact his family. Similar Toronto firms have been caught. My guess is the consultant continues to find wealthy clients in Dubai who pay $$$$ for poor services.

We cannot guarantee positive results. Our only guarantee is that we will work hard and do everything in our power for our clients. Submitting a Request for Reconsideration is not an easy process. The Applicant must first submit a strong application so that a Manager can clearly see the circumstances and potential that the Applicant is the victim. In this case, we were successful with our Request for Reconsideration and the businessman was able to come to Winnipeg to visit his son at the University of Manitoba. It is our pleasure to reunite families and see the smiles. This is why we love our work!

Click here for 12 tips for finding a good representative.

Success: TRP/WP for MPNP

After significant time and work, we successfully obtained a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) and a Work Permit (WP) from Emerson POE for a client who has an MPNP Nomination Certificate and a PR application in process. This was a messy situation. Her previous representative mishandled her case. She came to us after IRCC refused her Work Permit application and she was outside the 90 day Restoration period. The TRP was issued after significant advocacy at the POE and it was evident that she was the victim. TRP

We are thrilled the Officer agreed with our assessment of this situation and he used his highly discretionary power to issue the TRP and the Work Permit so that our client could get back to work while she waits for her PR to be processed.

Here in Manitoba, we are very fortunate to work with the Officers at Emerson POE. Generally, they are professional, courteous and they are sympathetic to clients’ circumstances. That said, they also must follow Canadian immigration laws and regulations. As we have stated at numerous free presentations to the public, we do not encourage clients to put themselves in a position where they need a TRP to stay in Canada. This application is only for exceptional circumstances.

Please note that the successful TRP application above was obtained prior to the travel restrictions per COVID19. Currently, POEs are closed for such matters and the Officers are further restricted from handling these applications.

We wish our client all the best and we are pleased that we could fix the mess. She can now stay in Canada and continue to work while she waits for her Permanent Resident status with the support of the MPNP program. The TRP application was her best option based on the facts of this case and she was the victim of her previous representative. Alas, the immigration system is complex and many representatives give bad advice.