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What is a Reconsideration Request and when do you use it?

A man considering a question

It is disheartening news when you receive a denial for your Canadian visa application, be it a work permit, study permit, or permanent residency application. But not many applicants know that you have 30 days to submit a Reconsideration Request to IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada) to ask them to reverse their denial and issue a revised decision of approval. This post will provide an introduction on what it is, when to use it, and how to use it.

What is a Request for Reconsideration?

A Request for Reconsideration is a letter addressed to the IRCC officer who evaluated your case and gave the denial decision, to ask them to re-consider their decision and issue a revised decision based on reasons that they may not have fully considered, or may have been mistaken about. It is commonly submitted via the IRCC Web Form. Typically, it is accompanied by documentary evidence that supports your argument.

An officer may or may not agree to revise their decision. In fact, officers generally do not prefer to issue revised decisions if the original decision was based on sound reasons. However, in some circumstances, a Request for Reconsideration may be the quickest and easiest way to overcome a denial and get the immigration benefit you need. Formal appeals processes done through the Courts can take a long time and can involve very high costs.

When to use a Request for Reconsideration?

If a denial decision was based on a factual or legal error on IRCC’s part, it is a very good idea to make a request for reconsideration, and in such cases, IRCC will typically respond with a revised decision of approval.

As an anecdotal example, we had a case where the responsible IRCC officer had not considered an important document which the client had provided a day before the deadline requested, and issued a denial assuming that this document was not provided. It appeared that the document had not yet been forwarded to the officer in time, presumably due to internal coordination issues. The client chose to pursue a reconsideration request. We submitted proof that the document was sent before the deadline set by IRCC, in the form of an e-mail receipt, and argued that this document should have been considered. As a result, the client was issued a revised decision, and their work permit was approved.

How to use a Request for Reconsideration effectively?

A request for reconsideration is a respectful request to the IRCC to use their discretionary powers to change a previously made decision. It is important to remember that in many cases (especially where no obvious errors were made by IRCC), there is no “right” to having one’s decision changed; the IRCC officer may or may not be persuaded to do so. Therefore, it is a good idea to have realistic expectations about the outcome of your Reconsideration Request.

On the other hand, the request for reconsideration does not have a fixed format or requirement, so this is where a lawyer’s persuasive advocacy skills could tip the scales and convince an officer to change a denial to an approval, even in cases where the IRCC had good reason for denial. For example, we had a case where the original petition contained an error where the wage conditions listed in a job offer did not match the conditions specified in the Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) certification. We submitted a reconsideration request apologizing for the error, submitting a revised job offer, and persuasively outlining why it was so important for the employer to retain the services of this foreign national. About a month later, we received an approval.

In conclusion, a Reconsideration Request is a useful tool to keep in mind when faced with the disheartening news of denial of your application. Be sure to consult with an experienced attorney who can assess the best strategy for your case. Please note past results do not guarantee similar outcomes.

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This website and blog constitutes attorney advertising. Do not consider anything in this website or blog legal advice and nothing in this website constitutes an attorney-client relationship being formed. Set up a one-hour consultation with us before acting on anything you read here. Past results are no guarantee of future results and prior results do not imply or predict future results. Each case is different and must be judged on its own merits.

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