Alternative Dispute Resolution Process-An Effective Way to Resolve Immigration Grievances
Every year Canada Immigration Department organizes a range of Canadian Immigration programs to allow Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their loved family members so that they can unite with their relatives in Canada. The immigration authorities invites applications under various immigration programs under Family class with the agenda to reunify the bonds between the family members. The popularity of these programs is as such that recently these initiatives generate approximately 25-30% of the immigration index of a whole year. There can be few cases where the applicants feel that their application has been rejected arbitrarily and want to appeal against the said decision Alternative Dispute Resolution comes handy in such situation
Spousal Sponsorship Programs
All the applications applied in the family grounds are not approved and few applications often get rejected on grounds that leaves applicants unsatisfied and they want to appeal against the decision. Mostly these cases belong to the spousal relationships.
One of the vulnerable types of cases which face most refusals from Citizenship and Immigration Canada are the common law marriages. Although, CIC has clearly granted green signals to common law marriages on paper but in reality it undeniable that it is the most disturbed term in the case of clear immigration to Canada.
Majority of the problems arise when the relationship between the sponsor and the sponsored one appears for convenience only and seems to be staged one. Which means a sponsor and the sponsored person entered into a common-law relationship with the only motive to enter and settle down in Canada. In turn, this seems to be a delicate subject and can result in a permanent rejection of the application. If the relation is not meant for convenience and one feels that rejection is not justified then one can even appeal to a specific court in his/her desire to resolve this matter through Alternative dispute resolution process
Immigration Appeal Division (IAD)
Canada’s immigration laws allow permanent residents with a range of appellate review mechanisms under the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) to address refusals of sponsored applications for permanent Canadian citizenship. Most of these cases can be contested and can be resolved based with in 12-18 months through a shorter way known as Alternative Dispute Resolution process (ADR).
Alternative Dispute Resolution Process (ADR)
To Resolve a dispute through ADR process, appeal is heard by committee where a Minister’s representative, a representative from Canada Border Services and the applicant’s legal counsel and the concerns of the applicant like issues of criminality, violation of international or human interests, illegitimate identification etc. are heard and the case for inadmissibility of the applicant to Canada is heard.
ADR is meant to make the appeal shorten though it doesn’t come with a certain or fixed time frame. However most spousal relationship appeals are resolved in less than one year. In the process, a formal appeal is filed with the Immigration Appeal Division requesting consideration for Alternative Dispute Resolution to review the concerns of the Visa Officer that led to refusal.
The process evolves with an informal meeting with a representative of the minister and an interpreter( if required) with the applicant and his/her legal counsel. The objective is to resolve their appeal for Visa denial at the earliest.
Dispute Resolution Officer’s Role
Here, the Dispute Resolution Officer (who is not an employee of CIC) allows all parties to discuss the issues raised by the refusal. He/She starts the informal meeting with an opening statement and all the parties can present their arguments and submissions. The council may also provide legal aids to the appeal which the Dispute Resolution Officer may recommend to the case’s proceedings.
Meanwhile, the Dispute Resolution Officer may also question the applicant on any issue regarding the case. Some likely questions that are usually asked are-
- Why your relative needs to come to Canada?
- Tell us about your relationship and how it developed?
- What is your understanding as to why your sponsorship was refused?
There can be other questions on similar grounds.
It is recommended to be well prepared before appearing for this ADR process.
After Hearing the Appeal at ADR- After, hearing all the arguments and cross examinations, the Dispute Resolution Officer will evaluate the case and recommend whether to continue with the appeal or to withdraw it. If the officer recommends withdrawing the appeal for the applicant based on merits of the case, the applicant can still go with the appeal as normal, as ADR outcome or recommendations don’t affect the original appeal.
Alternative Dispute Resolution process- a Potent weapon in hands of Immigration Applicants- Generally, Alternative Dispute Resolution Process (ADR) is a potential and effective measure to resolve immigration issues. As the process is evolved in straightforward and informal manner, the applicant can utilize the opportunity to raise his/her points and satisfy the course with the Minister’s representative.
Historically, 60% of spousal nomination immigration disputes have been solved with the help of ADR process and surely is an easy and convenient way to get relief against arbitrary behavior of the immigration officials.
And simultaneously, it doesn’t hurt the interests of the applicants as the ADR recommendation don’t hit the appeal directly.