Posted on - Aug 24, 2021

By Catherine Sas Q.C.

Catherine Sas Q.C.

In our immigration law office, we are regularly consulted by people who have been refused applications to Canada whether temporary or permanent, overseas or from within Canada. In most cases, we are able to succeed with a re-application. Here are some tips for success to achieve your immigration goals:

1) Don’t go it alone

Seek the assistance of an experienced and competent immigration professional when re-submitting an application. The immigration process is complicated. The advice that Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) posts on its website is not detailed in nature. I often advise clients that the immigration application forms are like the skeleton of a body and you need to put flesh on those bones to make the application whole. Learning what an officer considers in making a decision comes from years of experience and reading Federal Court decisions which the average person doesn’t have or do. Don’t repeat your mistake and seek professional assistance.

2) Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth!

You absolutely must tell the truth in your immigration applications. One of the most common reasons for refusal of an application is that an individual hasn’t disclosed a previous refusal whether in Canada or ANY OTHER COUNTRY! I once assisted a businessman in preparing a business visitor application which had been twice refused. He had extremely strong ties to his country, a thriving business, considerable funds and had traveled extensively internationally. All of these factors were very strong indicators for success. However, his application was ultimately refused for a third time. The reason? He hadn’t disclosed a previous refusal to the US (not in the application nor to me!) He was lucky in this instance that he only received a refusal of his application and not a misrepresentation finding banning him to Canada for a five-year period

Over the years we have written numerous blogs about the extremely serious consequences for misrepresentation – a five-year ban on any future immigration application! Don’t make the mistake of thinking that IRCC won’t know about previous refusals, especially from within Canada. Always tell the truth no matter how uncomfortable it may seem. For our most recent blog about the perils of misrepresentation see this link: The Perilous Nature of Misrepresentation.

3) Get the full picture

You need to see the reasons why the officer said “no”. The refusal letter is just that – a letter denying the application. IRCC uses form letters in most cases that just provide the decision but not the actual reasons. You need to get the officer’s notes in the Global Case Management System (GCMS) in order to obtain the detailed reasons of the officer. The best way to overcome a refusal is to provide further evidence addressing the previous officer’s concerns. You simply can’t guess why an officer denied an application and try another time.

4) Come up with an effective strategy

Once you have the GCMS notes you can develop a strategy to overcome the refusal. This can take weeks, months and in some cases years. When it comes to a serious decision to re-locate to another country permanently – you need a long-term strategy.

It may require going back to school, improving your language proficiency in English or French (or both), or overcoming a five-year misrepresentation ban. When I advise my immigration clients who have a misrepresentation finding, I explain that they are essentially in the penalty box for five years and that they should use that time wisely such as going to an English or French-speaking country to study and improve their education, language proficiency, and work experience to make them an ideal candidate for a future application to Canada.

5) If at first you don’t succeed – try and try again

It goes without saying that persistence pays off. While most applications will result in success with a second application, I have had rare cases where it takes a third or fourth try. The key will always be to have fresh evidence that shows the officer that you really intend to do what is necessary to achieve your immigration goals.

No one ever really enjoys being told “no”. In the immigration context, this is not uncommon. The tips above come from years of experience in dealing with immigration officers and learning the way that they approach an immigration application. As in most things in life, commitment and effort usually achieve the desired final result. For more on this topic please see our previous blog: Getting to ‘Yes’ – A Guide to Reapplying for Visas.


Catherine Sas, Q.C. is a Vancouver immigration lawyer at Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre in Vancouver, BC Canada. Catherine has been practicing law for over 30 years, and has been voted Vancouver’s Best Immigration Lawyer by the Georgia Straight newspaper for 9 consecutive years.


To learn more about immigrating to Canada, becoming a permanent Canadian resident or bringing your family to Canada, email Catherine Sas or call her at 1-604-689-5444.

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