A 65-year-old Trinidadian who I will call Ritchie was finally granted a multiple-entry visitor’s visa to visit his very close family members in Canada, after being refused several times.
The visa was issued after he was successful in the Federal Court in March in having a negative decision previously made by the visa officer at Port of Spain set aside.
Briefly, he entered Canada in September 2002 at which time he made a refugee claim due to risk to his life. A conditional removal order was issued upon his arrival and in June 2004 his refugee claim was denied.
He then applied for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA) which was later denied and, as a result, the conditional removal order became enforceable in January 2007.
He is a widower and his 102-year-old mother is a Canadian citizen. Ritchie also has seven brothers and sisters, all of whom are well established, live in and around Toronto and are all Canadian citizens.
He was arrested and detained in March 2007 and deported to Trinidad. He subsequently reimbursed the Canadian government for the cost of his deportation. Prior to being deported, he submitted an application for permanent residence under humanitarian grounds. In 2012 he learned it was refused.
In February 2008, he applied for a temporary resident visa to visit his family in Canada and it was refused. In December 2012, his relatives in Canada retained a lawyer to prepare a multiple-entry visa application and also submitted an Authorization to Return to Canada. Both applications were refused.
The reasons for the decision refusing the ARC read as follows: The officer cited the deportation order that was issued against Ritchie, his arrest, detention and removal at Crown expense and that he egregiously manipulated the immigration system to remain in Canada.
As a result of the refusal the lawyer filed for judicial review and was successful. In March 2015, the judge in his decision allowing judicial review stated, “In my view the decision is unreasonable.”
The judge called the officer’s statement that “the applicant entered Canada as a visitor and remained without authorization” inaccurate. In fact, he remained as a refugee claimant and a PRRA applicant.
In addition, the judge said the officer’s statement that the applicant “egregiously manipulated the immigration system” was also inaccurate. What the applicant did was avail himself of applications for refugee status, a PRRA and H&C consideration that he was entitled to make under Canadian law.
The decision was also unreasonable because the statement “purpose of travel is to visit family” minimized the importance of the applicant’s trip, the judge ruled. The applicant’s application for the ARC shows he wished to visit family members, including a sick mother, a sister who had had a stroke, a niece who is in a wheelchair, and a brother who had been in a car accident, the judge added.
The decision was set aside and the judge said Ritchie may file fresh material for reconsideration.
Last August, the lawyer submitted two applications, one for a TRV and one for Authority to Return to Canada. His visitor’s application was again refused despite the court’s judgment. However, on Sept. 9, he was granted Authority to Return to Canada from time to time.
As a result of these conflicting decisions, the lawyer told one of Richie’s sisters, Reishma, that there was nothing further he could do and closed the file. This sister is determined and would not take no for an answer.
She immediately contacted me, stating her mother is very ill and wishes to see her son before Christmas. I advised them to submit another application for a TRP as the minister granted consent and I believed Ritchie had a reasonable chance in obtaining a visa based on her documentation.
This was done and last week Ritchie was told to attend the VAC office at Port of Spain to collect his documents and decision. Upon opening the package, he discovered he has obtained a three-year multiple visitor visa. He immediately contacted his relatives in Canada and is expected to be here shortly to be reunited with his relatives and spend an enjoyable and happy Christmas.
Reishma wishes to thank the visa office in Port of Spain for issuing her brother a TRP and assures them he will not violate any terms and conditions of his stay. Good luck and happy reunion!
Sukhram Ramkissoon is a member of ICCRC and specializes in immigration matters at 3089 Bathurst St., Toronto. Phone 416-789-5756.