By Author: Admin | December 12, 2010

On December 13 2010, New Democrat M.P. Olivia Chow intends to introduce a Private Member’s Bill proposing an appeal for refused visitor visa applications.  The impetus for the bill is the arbitrariness of the visitor visa application process.

I have heard of one elderly visitor to Canada from India being refused five times before finally obtaining a visitor visa.    Around the same time, I processed a visitor visa application where an elderly woman from Jamaica with an unremarkable amount of assets and little travel history applied for a visitor visa for the first time and was accepted.

Visitor visa applications are often disposed of by Locally Engaged Staff, natives of the country where the Canadian visa office is located.  This provides the Canadian immigration department the advantage of paying a salary in (cheaper) local currency to the locally engaged staff, and the LES often imparts a greater cultural awareness to the visa issuing process.  The use of LES sometimes cuts both ways: cultural awareness is added, but also, local prejudices can enter the assessment of the visitor visa (e.g. “Mr. Patel went to such and such a school so it is not likely that he is employed at Company X which is known to hire people only from the Indian Institute of Technology”).

It is hoped that the proposed bill will pass, thus adding a measure of accountability to the visitor visa application process.  I was interviewed on the subject, and indicated my hope that another officer, either at the same office, or centrally located in Canada, could be allowed to take a review a visitor visa application initially refused by a visa officer.  My interview with Omni T.V. is below.


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I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario Canada. I am an accomplished author and lecturer and am consulted by the media and other immigration lawyers and consultants on immigration matters and challenging immigration cases, appeals, and federal court matters.

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