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The Immigration Appeals Division (IAD): What You Need to Know

The Immigration Appeals Division (IAD) is a division of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.

The IAD’s function is to review (and in some cases, reverse) deportations or decisions to revoke permanent residency.  It also hears appeals from refused applications to sponsor family members.

At Elgin Cannon & Associates, we represent clients before the IAD in a few different scenarios. 

Scenario 1: You’ve committed a crime and been sentenced as a permanent resident

Being convicted of a crime in Canada can result in the loss of your PR status and make you inadmissible to Canada. There are limitations to the IAD’s power in this situation. 

Appeals for findings of inadmissibility against permanent residents are generally limited to situations in which you have received a sentence of fewer than 6 months in jail. Criminal inadmissibility based on a conviction for a criminal offence that carries a sentence of 6 months or more cannot be appealed through the IAD. 

There also needs to be solid grounds for the appeal. For example, to avoid deportation, you need to demonstrate strong ties to Canada. This could be family, friends, or a career in the country. Additionally, you need to be able to show that you have taken steps toward rehabilitation after the crime. Because of the 6-month sentence limitation on these appeals, the crimes involved tend to be relatively minor. But, for example, if alcohol was involved in the offence, then you need to be able to show that you’ve taken steps to get sober or make amends. 

Scenario 2: Your sponsorship of a spouse or family member is rejected

Permanent residents of Canada can sponsor spouses or family members for immigration. If an application by a person you are sponsoring is rejected, you as the permanent resident can appeal the decision through the IAD. 

Sponsorship applications are often rejected because the immigration board has reason to doubt that the relationship is genuine. If this is the case, appealing the decision will involve presenting information and supporting documents to prove the legitimacy of the relationship. 

These applications are also sometimes rejected because the sponsored person is inadmissible (due to criminal or medical inadmissibility). In such a case, you’ll need to be able to justify the reasoning for the sponsored person coming to Canada (rather than you, the PR, returning to the country of origin to be with this person). 

To appeal the decision in that case, you would once again need to prove strong personal ties to Canada (such as other family or economic benefit of you remaining in the country).

Scenario 3: You have failed to meet your PR requirements

Another common scenario for IAD appeals is when a permanent resident loses their residency because they have not met their PR requirements. Canadian permanent residents are required by law to be present in Canada for a minimum of 730 days (or about 3 years) out of every 5 years in order to maintain their residency. 

If your permanent residency has been revoked or your sponsorship application has been rejected in any of the situations described above, contact Elgin Cannon & Associates. With decades of experience in Canadian immigration law, we can help you decide whether an IAD appeal is a good option for you, and if so, help you to present the strongest appeal possible in your case. 

Christopher Elgin has been a member of the British Columbia bar since January of 1988. He worked for the Immigration and Refugee Board as a legal advisor to the Board members for over three years and in 1993 he opened his own immigration law practice. In 1995, he joined forces with Douglas Cannon, another immigration…

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