After securing a letter of acceptance from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution, most international students consider applying for and obtaining the study permit (student visa) to be a simple formality. A detailed guide on study permits along with the document checklist on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website creates the impression that securing a study permit is all about filling the visa form, submitting necessary documents, and providing clarifications required by the immigration officer. As a result, many individuals apply themselves or apply through unauthorized consultants and fail to make a strong case to convince the visa officer to approve the application. In the process, sometimes, they misrepresent and become inadmissible to Canada.
In reality, securing a study permit can be a very complicated process involving confusing rules and regulations, subjective interpretation by immigration officers, and lack of transparency.
As an applicant for a study permit, you must:
- Establish that your intentions are bona fide and that you will leave Canada by the end of the period authorized for your stay.
- Satisfy an officer that you will not contravene the conditions of admission into Canada and that you do not belong to a category of persons inadmissible to Canada.
- Satisfy an officer that you will meet the requirements of Part 12 of the Regulations, including satisfying the officer that you have adequate financial resources to pay tuition fees and support your stay in Canada.
The above bullet points introduce an element of subjective interpretation by visa officers in the processing of study permit applications.
Some common reasons for rejection, often overlooked by applicants, include:
- Unconvincing Study Plan
- Insufficient Family Ties to the Home Country
- No Job Prospects in the Home Country
- Inadequate Travel History
- Financial Insufficiency
- Dual Intent
What complicates the process of applying for a study permit is that applications may get refused for reasons not listed or identified in the guide. The evaluating officer may choose to reject your application without seeking any additional documents, information, or clarifications.
Study Permit Refused: What Options do you have?
After the refusal of a study permit application, the applicant has three options:
You may contact the immigration officer via the IRCC Web Form or email and request for reconsideration. Explain why you believe you deserve reconsideration. Present any documents that support your request for reconsideration. The officer is not obligated to entertain such a request. Immigration officers tend to ignore the majority of requests for reconsideration, but if it goes through, they may decide to reopen your case.
Judicial Review by the Federal Court of Canada
You can file an application for Leave (permission) and for Judicial review if the visa officer made an error of law: misinterpreted the law, applied the wrong legal test, ignored the evidence, breached a principle of procedural fairness et cetera; made an error of mixed fact and law: misapplied the law to facts; or made an error of fact: incorrectly interpreted presented evidence.
Judicial review is a time-consuming and expensive process. It can take up to twelve months for the matter to be finally heard and decided by the judge. Even then, the judge does not have the authority to modify the decision or approve the study permit. If you get a favourable ruling, your application will be taken up by a different visa officer who must consider the judge’s views when deciding upon the application. The new officer will not repeat the original mistake. However, there is no assurance that the new officer won’t unfavourably interpret another rule or requirement. Practically the opportunity to study at a particular institution may have passed.
Submit a New Application
Refusal of study permit becomes part of your record with IRCC. The new application must explicitly rectify the reasons for which IRCC refused the first application. If the rejection communication does not indicate the reason in detail, then the applicant can seek the reasons in writing through an Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) request. Officially, these requests must be processed within 30 days, although it can take much longer than that. Even then, there is no guarantee that the officer’s written reasoning will be detailed enough to assist the re-application process.
When submitting a new application after a previous refusal, you should include a submission letter that presents important facts that address and overcome reasons for refusal. Where necessary, the submission letter should also include case law from the Federal Court to address unfair reasons for refusal like your lack of travel history, your strong ties to Canada, you not likely to return home, etc.
Get in Touch if you have been refused a Study Permit and need more information about your options. We can help you in requesting a reconsideration of your refusal or/and submission of a new application.