Response to Procedural Fairness Letter

Procedural Fairness Letter

Procedural Fairness Letter

What is a procedural fairness letter?

Every application submitted to Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is unique and complex. The application contains information about the applicant’s past and their future prospects in Canada. Naturally, every applicant tries their best to satisfy the list of requirements for each particular application.

What Can Go Wrong With An IRCC Application?

Sometimes the information submitted in an application is misunderstood by the IRCC officer reviewing your file. Other times, an officer may have information conflicting or inconsistent with other information on your application.

Other times, something may have changed between the time you submitted your application and the time the officer is reviewing it. When this happens, you will likely receive what is called a “Procedural Fairness” letter from the officer reviewing your file.

If you receive a letter like this, the first thing you should do is take it extremely seriously.

IRCC rarely gives applicants the opportunity to respond to specific concerns, and so any response to these letters should be as thorough and complete as possible, to try to alleviate any concerns the officer may have.

This is your chance to clarify any information they’re asking for.

For responses to procedural fairness letters, we highly recommend that you speak with and retain an immigration professional who can not only respond to specific concerns raised by an officer, but also help you anticipate what other issues may flow from these concerns, and incorporate an explanation into your response.

The immigration team at Hummingbird Lawyers LLP is very experienced in reviewing and responding to these letters. A detailed response can make all the difference in having your application approved.

immigrating to Canada

Examples of successful responses to procedural fairness letters

Below are some examples of procedural fairness letters we have received and responded to:

  • Potential misrepresentation: A client submitted an application for a temporary resident visa (TRV) to visit his wife, who was studying in Waterloo. Unfortunately, his stated travel history was inconsistent with other parts of his application, and the visa officer reviewing his application had some concerns that he was misleading IRCC. The officer prepared a procedural fairness letter and asked for a fulsome explanation about this alleged inconsistency. They wanted our client to alleviate the concerns they had. Together with the client, we worked diligently on recreating his entire travel history, including as much detail and evidence as we could, in order to put the pieces together. As a result, we were able to satisfy the officer that there was no misrepresentation, but rather a minor mistake.
  • Possible misunderstanding of the nature of a relationship: Our client submitted a spousal sponsorship application. Her husband was also a permanent resident, however at the time that he submitted his application and was landed in Canada, he was already living with our client. He had not included his wife as a dependent on his own permanent residence application, because they were not yet married at that time, and were not in a serious relationship. He did not therefore think that he needed to include her. Unfortunately however, the officer reviewing his wife’s PR application believed that despite the fact that they were not technically married, that they were already in a common-law relationship at the time that the husband was landed. For that reason, she should have been declared a spouse, but was not. The officer issued a procedural fairness letter, asking about the nature of their relationship because she was concerned our client was no longer eligible to be sponsored. Our client brought the letter to us, and we prepared substantial submissions about the history and nature of our client’s relationship with her husband and legal submissions about the nature of the alleged ineligibility to sponsor. This is a common mistake made among those living together. We were able to satisfy the officer that no wrongdoing had been committed, and secure a successful outcome for our client.
  • Potential medical inadmissibility: We have clients from India who are working in the IT sector in Canada. They are eligible for, and applied for, permanent residency along with their seven-year-old son. Unfortunately, however, their son is a hemophiliac and requires significant doses of medication to treat this condition. After applying for permanent residence, they received a procedural fairness letter from a visa officer who was concerned that their son’s hemophilia treatment would be an excessive burden on Canada’s healthcare system. We worked together with our clients to make submissions regarding the true cost of the medication, and to make the case that their son’s medical care in Canada is far greater than any care that he’d receive in India and that it was in his best interest to remain in Canada. This required a detailed medical analysis, legal submissions, all with a compassionate lens.

Other Situations Where A Procedural Fairness Letter May Be Issued

Some other times where we see procedural fairness letters issued are with respect to criminal inadmissibility, security reasons (i.e. terrorism), or even in some skilled worker and express entry applications.

There are any number of reasons that a visa officer can issue a procedural fairness letter.

Some but not all reasons are listed below:

  1. Lack of supporting documentation
  2. Concern that an applicant poses a security risk to Canadian society
  3. The nature of one’s relationship with their spouse or sponsor
  4. Inconsistent information in an application

Response to Procedural Fairness Letter

Contact An Immigration Lawyer Today

If you receive a procedural fairness letter, we strongly encourage you to contact an immigration lawyer at Hummingbird Lawyers LLP immediately. The window of time to respond is often narrow, and there is usually a lot of work required to make proper submissions.

This is your rare chance to bolster your application and satisfy a visa officer who may have questions about your application or profile before they make a decision.

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    Adam Hummel is an Associate Lawyer in the Immigration practice, and Wills & Estates practice groups at Hummingbird Lawyers LLP.

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