A couple foreign students recently discovered that even a straightforward study permit application can be …well… not so straightforward.
Take the case of 16-year-old Columbian, Luz Marina Hernandez Bonilla, for example.
She wanted to go to high school in Gravenhurst, Ont. Her parents transferred custody and guardianship to her sister and her husband, a Canadian citizen. The couple agreed to provide her with complete financial support during her four years of study. Her application for a study permit contained all the necessary documents including evidence that her guardian was employed and earning $80,000 annually.
The application was refused without an interview.
The officer was not satisfied that the applicant would leave Canada at the end of her studies since “she will have spent all of her formative years in Canada, away from her parents, her community, her culture and her language. In effect… she would not be able to function should she attempt to return.”
The applicant sought judicial review in the Federal Court arguing that the officer’s reasoning leads to the inevitable conclusion that all who apply to attend high school in Canada must be denied since they will not likely return home after their studies.
On Jan. 10, Mr. Justice O’Keefe set aside the decision, not because the officer’s logic was flawed, but simply because the officer did not give the applicant an opportunity to address his concerns.
The second case involved Ren Kun Zuo, who was in his final year of a four-year sports journalism course in China.
Zuo wanted to study English for a year at the UBC English Institute in Vancouver to be followed, perhaps, by an MBA. Zuo’s father was the Chief Judge of the Jimo People’s Court in Shandong province and had saved $80,000 for his son’s education. He was happy to use $30,000 of it for the English course.
Zuo’s application for a study permit was also refused.
The officer faulted the applicant for not providing a letter of acceptance to an MBA program in addition to the letter of acceptance to the language school. The officer also found that the plan was illogical since there are plenty of English courses now available in China. The officer concluded that Zuo was trying to resettle in Canada “by any means available.”
On Jan. 18, Mr. Justice Pinard of the Federal Court overturned this decision, as well. When considering their options, I doubt that foreign students will derive much confidence in our immigration system from these “successes.”
Guidy Mamann practices law in Toronto at Mamann & Associates and is certified by the Ontario Law Society as an immigration specialist. Reach him confidentially at 416-862-0000 or at firstname.lastname@example.org