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  • Writer's pictureImmergity Immigration Consultant

Request for Reconsideration

Request for Reconsideration in Canadian Immigration Law

What is a Request for Reconsideration?

A "Request for Reconsideration" is a formal plea submitted by individuals or their legal representatives asking immigration authorities to re-examine a decision that negatively impacts their immigration status. This process is an integral part of ensuring justice and fairness within the immigration system.


When and Why to Request for Reconsideration?

A Request for Reconsideration becomes relevant under certain circumstances. Imagine you've applied for a study permit in Canada, but your application is denied. Or perhaps your application for permanent residency is rejected based on an assessment with which you disagree. In these and similar situations, where you believe that the decision was made in error or without considering all the relevant information, a Request for Reconsideration offers a pathway to seek a second review of your case. This should not be confused with Reapplication, Appeals, Restoration of Status, Loss of Status, etc..


The Context in Canadian Immigration

Canada's immigration system is renowned for its structure and fairness. Yet, no system is infallible. Mistakes can occur, whether through administrative oversight, misinterpretation of information, or a lack of consideration of new evidence. The Request for Reconsideration process acknowledges this reality and provides a mechanism to rectify potential errors. It’s a testament to the system’s commitment to fairness and due process.




Request for Reconsideration

Legal Framework: Request for Reconsideration in Canadian Immigration Law

Governing Laws and Regulations

The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA)

  • Overview: At the heart of Canadian immigration law is the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), a comprehensive statute that governs the admission of foreign nationals to Canada. It sets out the principles, policies, and procedures related to immigration, refugee protection, and the granting or refusal of entry into Canada.

  • Relevance to Reconsideration Requests: While IRPA does not explicitly outline a formal 'Request for Reconsideration' process, it establishes the general legal framework within which immigration decisions are made and reviewed. The Act mandates fairness and accuracy in decision-making, which forms the basis for reconsideration requests. Specific guidelines for these requests are often outlined in operational manuals and policy documents used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).


Eligibility and Limitations

Who Can File a Request for Reconsideration?

  • Applicants and Representatives: Typically, individuals who have received an unfavorable decision regarding their immigration application (like visa refusals, residency obligation assessments, or inadmissibility findings) are eligible to file a request for reconsideration. Legal representatives or authorized immigration consultants can also submit requests on behalf of their clients.


Under What Circumstances?

  • Decision Disputes: A request for reconsideration is appropriate when an individual believes an error was made in the decision process or when new, relevant information has come to light that was not previously considered.


Time Limits and Procedural Requirements

  • Time Sensitivity: One of the critical aspects of filing a request for reconsideration is timeliness. While there is no standardized time frame mandated by IRPA, requests should be made as soon as possible after the decision. Some types of decisions have specific time limits for review requests, as detailed in IRCC’s operational guidelines.

  • Documentation and Evidence: The request must be accompanied by a detailed explanation of why the reconsideration is sought, along with any supporting documents or new evidence that justifies a review of the decision.

  • Submission Process: The process for submitting a request for reconsideration varies depending on the type of decision being disputed. In most cases, it involves written communication with the IRCC office or visa application center that made the original decision.


Process and Procedures: Filing a Request for Reconsideration in Canadian Immigration Law

Filing a Request

1. Preparation of Documentation

  • Written Request: The first step in filing a request for reconsideration is to prepare a written submission. This document should clearly state that you are seeking a reconsideration of a specific decision and include your full name, date of birth, and application number (if applicable).

  • Grounds for Reconsideration: Clearly articulate the reasons why you believe the decision should be reconsidered. This could include pointing out any potential errors in the initial assessment or highlighting new evidence that should be taken into account.


2. Gathering Supporting Evidence

  • New Information: If you have new evidence or information that was not previously considered, it should be included with your request. This could be additional documentation, new facts, or circumstances that have emerged since the original decision.

  • Relevant Documents: Attach copies of any relevant documents related to your case, such as the original decision letter, any correspondence with immigration officials, and the new evidence supporting your request.


3. Submission of the Request

  • Where to Submit: The request should be submitted to the same office or department within Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that made the original decision. The contact details are usually found on the decision letter or the IRCC website.

  • Mode of Submission: Check if the office accepts requests via email, mail, or an online portal. Ensure that the request is sent through the specified mode.


4. Associated Fees

  • Fee Requirement: Generally, there are no fees for filing a request for reconsideration. However, it is important to confirm this as policies can vary depending on the type of application and the specific circumstances of the case.


Assessment Criteria

1. Review of the Request

  • Initial Evaluation: Immigration officials will first ensure that your request is complete and includes all necessary information and documentation.


2. Criteria for Assessment

  • New Evidence or Information: One of the key factors in the assessment is the presence of new, relevant information or evidence that was not considered during the initial decision-making process.

  • Errors in Initial Decision: If you claim that there was an error in the application of law or policy, or a misunderstanding of the facts in the original decision, officials will closely re-examine these aspects.

  • Change in Circumstances: If there has been a significant change in your circumstances since the original decision, this will be considered. This might include changes in family status, employment, or other personal conditions that have a direct bearing on your immigration status.


3. Decision on the Request

  • Outcome: After review, the immigration authorities will either uphold the original decision or revise it based on the reconsideration request.

  • Communication: You will be notified of the decision in writing, with an explanation provided in cases where the request is denied.


Case Studies: Request for Reconsideration in Canadian Immigration Law

Case Study 1: Successful Reconsideration Due to New Evidence

Scenario: Jane, a skilled worker, applied for permanent residency in Canada. Her application was initially denied due to insufficient proof of work experience. She had submitted only partial documentation of her employment history. After the refusal, Jane gathered additional, comprehensive work records and filed a request for reconsideration.


Outcome: The reconsideration request was successful. The new documents provided a more complete picture of her work experience, meeting the eligibility criteria for the skilled worker category.


Lessons Learned: This case underscores the importance of thorough documentation. It also highlights how new, relevant evidence can significantly alter the outcome of an immigration decision.


Case Study 2: Unsuccessful Reconsideration Due to Lack of Significant New Information

Scenario: Michael, a student visa applicant, had his application refused due to doubts about his intent to leave Canada after his studies. He filed for reconsideration, arguing the same points as in his original application but did not provide any new evidence.


Outcome: The request for reconsideration was denied. The decision remained unchanged as there was no new information to warrant a different outcome.


Lessons Learned: Merely reiterating points from the original application is not effective. Reconsideration requests should present new information or evidence not previously considered.


Case Study 3: Successful Reconsideration After Correcting an Application Error

Scenario: Ahmed applied for a visitor visa but mistakenly provided incorrect information about his travel history. His application was initially denied on grounds of misrepresentation. He quickly realized the error, filed a request for reconsideration, and provided the correct information.


Outcome: The reconsideration was successful. The immigration officials acknowledged the error as a genuine mistake and not intentional misrepresentation, leading to the approval of his visa.


Lessons Learned: Prompt action to correct genuine mistakes can lead to a positive outcome. Transparency and honesty in the application process are crucial.


Case Study 4: Unsuccessful Reconsideration Due to Policy Constraints

Scenario: Lily, who had her refugee claim denied, filed for reconsideration based on her belief that the decision was unfair. She did not provide new evidence or indicate an error in the decision-making process.


Outcome: The request was denied because it did not meet the criteria for reconsideration. It lacked new evidence, and there was no indication of an error in the initial assessment.


Lessons Learned: Understanding the specific grounds and criteria for reconsideration is essential. Personal disagreement with a decision is not sufficient grounds for a successful request.


Strategies for Success when Requesting for Reconsideration

Best Practices for a Strong Request

  1. Gather Compelling Evidence:

    1. Comprehensiveness: Ensure all relevant and supportive documents are gathered. This includes any new evidence that wasn't part of the original application.

    2. Relevance: The evidence should directly address the reasons for the initial refusal or decision. For example, if the refusal was due to insufficient financial resources, provide updated financial statements.

  2. Articulate Arguments Clearly:

    1. Clarity: Write a clear, concise, and well-structured request. Avoid vagueness and ensure that your main points are easily identifiable.

    2. Direct Address: Directly address the reasons for the original decision's refusal. If the decision was due to a misunderstanding or an overlooked detail, clarify this explicitly.

  3. Understand the Legal Grounds for Reconsideration:

    1. Know the Law: Familiarize yourself with the relevant sections of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and other immigration policies.

    2. Applicability: Ensure your request aligns with the legal grounds for reconsideration. Understand what constitutes valid grounds, such as new evidence or procedural errors in the initial decision.


Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Rehashing the Same Information:

  • Avoid submitting a request that simply repeats the information from the original application without adding any new context or evidence. This rarely changes the outcome.

Missing Deadlines:

  • Pay attention to time limits for filing a reconsideration request. Late submissions are often not entertained and can lead to automatic rejection.

Overlooking Form and Format Requirements:

  • Ensure that the request adheres to any specified format or procedural requirements set by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Non-compliance with these formalities can lead to the dismissal of the request.

Emotional Appeals Without Substance:

  • While personal circumstances and hardships can be relevant, they should be backed with factual evidence and legal arguments. Solely emotional appeals without substantive legal or factual backing are less likely to succeed.

Failure to Address Specific Reasons for Refusal:

  • Not directly addressing the specific reasons for the initial refusal is a common mistake. Tailor your request to directly respond to these reasons.

A successful request for reconsideration in the context of Canadian immigration law hinges on a thorough understanding of legal requirements, clarity and relevance in presenting arguments and evidence, and adherence to procedural norms. By following these best practices and avoiding common pitfalls, applicants can significantly enhance their chances of a favorable outcome in the reconsideration process. Remember, the goal is to provide immigration officials with clear, compelling reasons to reassess and potentially reverse their initial decision.

Role of GCMS Notes in Requesting Reconsideration

Understanding GCMS Notes:

  • What Are GCMS Notes?: The Global Case Management System (GCMS) is used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to process immigration and citizenship applications. GCMS notes are detailed records of an applicant's file, including all communications, documents, and notes made by the officers handling the case.

  • Insight into Decision-Making: GCMS notes provide insight into the reasoning behind IRCC’s decisions. They contain the officer's observations, assessments, and sometimes, the specific areas of concern or reasons for refusal.


Utilizing GCMS Notes for Reconsideration:

  1. Identifying Reasons for Refusal: By reviewing GCMS notes, applicants can understand the exact reasons for the refusal of their application. This information is crucial for addressing specific concerns in a reconsideration request.

  2. Tailoring the Reconsideration Request: Armed with the knowledge from the GCMS notes, applicants can directly address the issues raised by the immigration officer. This allows for a more targeted and effective reconsideration request.

  3. Presenting New Evidence: If the GCMS notes reveal gaps in information or misunderstandings, applicants can provide new or additional evidence to clarify these points.

  4. Highlighting Errors or Oversights: In some cases, GCMS notes may reveal procedural errors or oversights in the application's evaluation. Pointing out these in the reconsideration request can strengthen the applicant’s case.


Best Practices in Using GCMS Notes:

  • Requesting GCMS Notes: Applicants can request their GCMS notes directly from IRCC, but it's important to note that it may take some time to receive them. Planning ahead is crucial.

  • Professional Analysis: Sometimes, interpreting GCMS notes can be challenging due to technical language or legal jargon. Seeking assistance from a legal professional or an immigration consultant for analysis can be beneficial.


Limitations:

  • Not a Guarantee for Success: While GCMS notes can provide valuable insights and aid in crafting a more effective reconsideration request, they do not guarantee a successful outcome. The final decision still rests with the immigration authorities.


Structure of a Request for Reconsideration Letter

Crafting an effective Request for Reconsideration letter requires a structured approach to clearly present your case to the immigration authorities. Here's an ideal structure for such a letter:

Section

Content

Details

Header

Date and Address

Include the current date and the address of the appropriate immigration office or officer.

Introduction

Subject Line and Opening

State that it is a Request for Reconsideration. Include your full name and application/ID number. Briefly introduce the purpose of the letter.

Body: Background Information

Recap of Your Case

Summarize your immigration application and the decision received. Reference the date and details of the original decision.

Body: Grounds for Reconsideration

Reasons and Evidence

Articulate why the decision should be reconsidered. Provide specific details and attach relevant new evidence or information.

Body: Addressing Reasons for Refusal

Specific Response

Directly address each point of refusal provided in the decision letter, offering explanations or counter-evidence.

Conclusion

Summary and Request

Reiterate your request for reconsideration and summarize the reasons. Politely ask for a reevaluation of your application.

Closing

Gratitude and Contact Information

Express thanks for the consideration of your request. Include your contact details for follow-up.

Attachments

List of Documents

List all documents attached to the letter. Include all supporting documents like new evidence or corrected information.

Signature

Sign-off

Include your signature at the end of the letter.

Tips for the Letter

  • Clarity and Conciseness: Keep the letter clear, concise, and to the point.

  • Professional Tone: Maintain a respectful and professional tone throughout the letter.

  • Proofreading: Check for grammatical errors and ensure the letter is well-organized.


Some FAQ's we usually get:


How do I send a reconsideration request to IRCC?

  • Prepare a detailed written request for reconsideration, clearly stating that it's a request to reevaluate a specific immigration decision.

  • Gather all relevant supporting documents and evidence that substantiate your request.

  • The request should be submitted to the same office or department within Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that made the initial decision. Check the original decision letter or the IRCC website for the appropriate contact details.

  • Ensure that the request is sent through the specified mode of submission, which may be via email, mail, or an online portal.


Can we challenge IRCC decision?

  • Yes, you can challenge an IRCC decision. If you believe that an error was made in the decision-making process or if new relevant information has come to light, you can file a request for reconsideration with IRCC.

  • It's important to provide clear reasons for the challenge, backed with any new evidence or information that supports your case.


How do I write a reconsideration request?

  • Start with the date and address it to the appropriate IRCC office.

  • Clearly state in the subject line that it is a Request for Reconsideration. Include your full name and application/ID number.

  • In the body, provide a brief recap of your case and the decision received. Explicitly state your reasons for seeking reconsideration, including any new information or evidence.

  • Address specific reasons for refusal if provided in the decision letter.

  • Conclude with a summary of your request, asking politely for a reevaluation, and provide your contact information.

  • List and attach all supporting documents.

  • End with your signature.


How do I apply for reconsideration?

  • Applying for reconsideration involves preparing a formal written request. This request should articulate your reasons for seeking a review of the decision and should be supported with new or additional evidence that was not considered in the original decision.

  • The application for reconsideration is sent to the same IRCC office that issued the original decision. It's crucial to follow any specific procedural requirements, including submission format and deadlines, as outlined by IRCC.

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