Study permit refusal and how to appeal it

Even though the process of landing a Canadian student visa seems relatively simple and straightforward, getting approved has shown to be quite a challenge. Most applicants think that getting accepted into their university of choice is the biggest hurdle in their journey to studying in Canada. However, successfully getting a visa — otherwise known as a study permit — has proven to be more and more tricky as the years go by.

Canada’s popularity as a desirable study destination means that the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) deals with a staggeringly high volume of applicants every year, thus making it incredibly common for a study permit to be refused for a wide variety of reasons.

Rejection of Canadian Student Visa Due to Financial Insufficiency

A study visa can be refused even if the student-applicant meets all of the academic and admission qualifications for the school or university of their choice. One of the most popular reasons for rejection is the student’s financial insufficiency.

The IRCC officer handling your specific case must be convinced that you have enough money to fully support yourself for, at the very least, the first year of the course or program you choose. The exact amount you show on your application should cover schooling fees, supplies, accommodation, and enough money to cover your travel costs, food, and day-to-day activities. Even though the minimum requirement for getting a Canadian study visa is providing proof of adequate funds for a single year, you can further increase your chances for approval by showing that you can pay for up to several years of your course. Proof of extra funds, along with the documents supporting any additional income or savings you may have need to be attached to your visa application.

Nevertheless, your Canadian student visa application may still be rejected if the IRCC officer suspects financial insufficiency or a discrepancy in your supporting documents. If the immigration officials are not satisfied with your financial submissions, your visa will be refused.

If this does happen, you will be issued with a visa denial letter, outlining the grounds for refusal.

What to Do When Canadian Student Visa is Rejected?

If your application for a study visa is refused by the IRCC due to insufficient funds, there are three courses of action you can take:

  1. File a new application. If you've concluded that the refusal was unbiased and have the option of declaring additional funds on your application, you can start over and re-submit your paperwork.
  2. Request reconsideration. If your application has been rejected due to insufficient or misinterpreted information, this will be cited in the letter you obtain from the IRCC. Present any and all supplementary or clarifying paperwork to the authorities for the chance of having your visa application reconsidered.
  3. Contest the decision. If you feel like your application has been unfairly refused by the IRCC, you can apply to have their original decision appealed.

Appeals are made via Judicial Review with the Canadian Federal Court. Your initial application will be taken as evidence as it was originally submitted. The goal of the hearing is to prove that the decision-maker (the IRCC) acted against the law, unreasonably, or outside of their authority when rejecting your application.

If your original application was filed from outside of Canada, you're required to file your appeal within 60 days of receiving the refusal. If filing from within the country, you must appeal within 15 days.

Filing a Canadian Study Permit Refusal Appeal

Applicants whose Canadian student visa is denied can request with the Federal Court to reverse the refusal. If the court finds the claim to be justified, it will be sent back to the IRCC and handed to a different immigration officer for reevaluation.

This is exactly what had happened in the 2019 case of Luciano Caianda v. Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

The IRCC denied Mr.Caianda’s application for a visa to study English at St. John College for a single year before enrolling in a two-year program in Electronics Engineering at the New Brunswick Community College. The IRCC stated their concern regarding Mr.Caianda’s proposed course of study and felt as if Mr.Caianda, on the whole, would not be able to shoulder the expense.

The other comment given by the IRCC officer handling Mr.Caianda’s case was that "English courses were available elsewhere in the country at a lower cost."

The court found the IRCC’s decision to be unreasonable on two grounds:

  1. Mr.Cainada’s course of study should not have raised any concerns with the immigration office: his application clearly explained why he chose these exact programs. The application package contained evidence of Mr.Cainada previously studying a similar discipline at a university in Portugal. Now being 43 years old, Mr.Cainada decided to pursue his old dream of becoming an engineer.
  2. The IRCC officer should not have made a statement regarding the cost of Mr.Cainada’s chosen course, especially since clear evidence of sufficient funds was provided with the application.

Want to discuss your case?

If you’ve applied for a Canadian study permit, were unfairly refused, and feel confident you have grounds for appeal, then you can contact an immigration lawyer. Have a specialist evaluate your case and help you through the appeals process. Being represented before the Federal Court will heighten your chances of success and improve the probability of the court ruling in your favor.

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