When and How to Appeal a Negative Decision
If a negative decision is made with regards to your PR Card renewal application and you are in Canada, you will be issued with an order to leave Canada. You have 30 days after you receive the negative decision to file an appeal with the Immigration Appeal Division (“IAD”). You cannot be removed from Canada during these 30 days and if you file an appeal you cannot be removed until a decision is made with respect to your appeal.
If a negative decision is made outside of Canada by a visa officer that you have lost your PR status, you have 60 days to appeal the decision to the IAD. If you would like to attend your hearing at the IAD, you may be able to apply for a travel document from the IAD. The IAD has the power to order that you be allowed to return to Canada to attend your hearing if you prove that it is necessary.
Filing an Appeal & Preparing for your Hearing
While it is possible to represent yourself in your appeal, this is a complicated legal process and the consequence of the final decision is that you may lose your PR status and be removed from Canada. Filling the form to register your appeal is a simple step but preparing your appeal and defending yourself at your hearing is anything but simple. I often meet appellants who come to me after their appeal has been refused, but at that point it is very difficult for us to change the decision. Therefore if you have an appeal you should ensure that you work with your counsel to make the strongest case possible and present all your evidence at your appeal hearing.
Depending on where you are, current wait times from receiving a hearing date range from 12 to 18 months. It is important to know that your ultimate chance of being successful in your appeal depends in part on what you do after your appeal is filed. Do you remain in Canada and become more established and committed to making Canada your permanent home? For example if you were not in Canada 730 days, remaining in Canada from the time you file your appeal up to your hearing date, and taking steps to become established, will assist you in proving that there are adequate Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds in your case.
It is crucial that you are well prepared for your hearing and file all documents you intend to rely upon within the set deadlines of the IAD. In some cases there are relevant witnesses that we want to bring to the hearing to support your appeal. Your appeal is your chance to present all your evidence to the IAD but it is also your last chance to present evidence. After your hearing you will not be able to present any new documents or information and your appeal will be decided based on the existing evidence.
Residency obligation appeals involve two parties: you and the Minister of Immigration’s counsel. You will be able to present all the relevant evidence and the Minister's counsel will have a chance to cross-examine you. You should also be prepared for the Minister's counsel to fight against your case and argue why you should not be allowed to remain a PR of Canada.
Once your hearing has taken place you are faced with two possible outcomes. The IAD may grant your appeal based on legal grounds (for example the calculation of the number of days you were in Canada was incorrect), or on humanitarian and compassionate grounds (these grounds were discussed in depth in my article last week). Or if the IAD does not agree with your appeal they may hand down a decision where you lose your PR status and a departure order is issued against you. A decision of the IAD may be appealed to the Federal Court of Canada (by either party).
If you end up losing your PR status you will need to apply for a visa before travelling to Canada. Should you wish to become a PR again, you will need to qualify under one of the existing programs and submit a new application and start all over again.