Loan repayment at root of rejected applications

“In the past 16 years, he was able to travel abroad to see his sons only once in 1995.”


Like many working parents, I occasionally work late and miss seeing my daughters before they go to sleep. I always feel guilty for having missed a whole day of their young lives.

I can only imagine how “Sami” feels. He hasn’t seen his four boys in 11 years.

Bitter fighting and internal strife in Ethiopia caused Sami to flee his country in 1987. He ended up displaced in Italy where he was eventually conferred convention refugee status and selected for immigration to Canada.

With little more than the shirt on his back, the Canadian government purchased for him a one-way ticket to Canada which he accepted as a “transportation loan.”

He arrived here in 1990 and found himself alone and in an unfamiliar place. The early years in Canada were not kind to him. He longed for his boys and wasn’t adjusting well. In the past 16 years, he was able to travel abroad to see his sons only once in 1995.

In approximately 2003, Sami tried to sponsor his three younger boys who were still eligible to be sponsored. However, that application somehow ran aground.

He filed a second application in December 2004. In May 2005, he was rejected as a sponsor since he had repaid only some, but not all, of the cost of his ticket to Canada.

He immediately paid off the remaining balance and delivered to immigration officials a letter dated June 1, 2005 proving payment in full.

Having cured the default which rendered him ineligible, he asked the Canadian High Commission in Nairobi to continue the processing of his children’s applications and to excuse his initial ineligibility on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

More than a year after he repaid the balance of his loan, Sami received three letters dated July 19, 2006 denying his boys’ applications.

The visa post refused the applications not because the loan was outstanding but because it was outstanding on the day in December 2004 when he initiated the sponsorship process.

Although the embassy could have allowed the application on humanitarian grounds, it instead relied on Regulation 133 which requires a sponsor to be eligible from the time he/she files the application right up until the time a decision is made.

Sami can appeal the decision and/or start the sponsorship process all over again … for the third time. Either way, it’ll be another year or two before he will be tucking in his boys at night.

Guidy Mamann is the senior lawyer at Mamann & Associates and is certified by the Law Society as an immigration specialist. Reach him at 416-862-0000. Direct confidential questions to

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