The refusal of an application for permanent residence can have some
unexpected effects -- like cutting one off from their relatives in Canada.

A young professional woman -- let’s call her Ruth -- visited her family in Canada regularly since she had a five-year visitor’s visa affixed to her passport.

She then decided to try and join her parents and siblings in Canada permanently, finding a Canadian employer who provided her with a letter which would confirm to immigration officials that she had arranged employment in Canada. The letter was then verified and approved by Services Canada, entitling her to 10 points, plus another five “adaptability points" towards the 67 she needed to qualify for permanent residence under the Federal Skilled Worker program.

Ruth obtained professional help to assist her with the filing of her application for permanent residence at the Canadian embassy in her home country.

She was confident that her application would be approved because she appeared to qualify and had done everything by the book. Her application was submitted and she waited patiently while all of the processing steps unfolded normally.

Then she was interviewed at the visa office.

The officer told Ruth that her application would be refused since she was somehow short on points. A letter setting out the reasons in detail would soon follow.

While she was trying to absorb the full impact of this sudden turn of events, the officer gave her even worse news. He took her passport and told her that he was cancelling her Canadian visitor’s visa, which she had never abused or violated. According to the officer, this was standard procedure following a refusal of an application for permanent residence.

She was in shock.

While Ruth tries to figure out what she will do next, other applicants in similar circumstances should take note that this scenario is not uncommon.

I am often asked by prospective applicants if they can be punished by the Canadian visa office if they make an application that is refused. The short answer is no, unless the person is found to have made a misrepresentation in connection with that application which would render them inadmissible to Canada for two years from the date of the refusal letter.

Having said this, foreigners should be as certain as they can be that they qualify in every possible way before they apply for permanent residence since there can be unintended consequences flowing from a refusal.

By submitting an application for permanent residence, Ruth demonstrated a desire to live here permanently which, in the officer’s mind, casts doubt on her future willingness to leave Canada now that she has been denied permanent status here.

While the concept of dual intent -- the concept of holding a permanent and temporary intent simultaneously -- exists, officers are not required to find that it exists in every case.

Guidy Mamann practices law in Toronto at Mamann, Sandaluk and is certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as an immigration specialist. Reach him confidentially at 416-862-0000 or at

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