How to respond to a procedural fairness letter?

How to respond to a procedural fairness letter?

How to respond to a procedural fairness letter?

Our office frequently handles immigration cases that often involve responding to Procedural Fairness Letters (PFLs). In our experience, a simple question or concern from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) can lead to the submission of hundreds of pages of documentation. Clients often contact us in a panic, given only seven or fifteen days to respond. It’s not uncommon for us to request extensions to ensure every detail is thoroughly addressed. Issues can range from discrepancies in documentation, concerns of misrepresentation, problematic medical examination results, to matters of criminal inadmissibility.

Many immigration applicants receive a PFL and are uncertain about its implications, the necessity of a response, or the appropriate way to reply. Some might ignore it or respond inadequately, which can jeopardize their entire application. By the time they seek professional help, significant damage might already be done. This blog aims to explain the PFL process, highlighting what it is, why it’s issued, who may receive it, and how to respond effectively.

What is a procedural fairness letter?

A procedural fairness letter (PFL) is an official communication from IRCC indicating that there are specific concerns or potential issues with your immigration application. This letter provides you with a crucial opportunity to address and clarify these concerns before a final decision is made on your application. The issuance of a PFL signifies that IRCC is giving you a chance to respond to their findings, which can range from minor discrepancies to more serious allegations such as misrepresentation. The PFL process is an essential component of the principle of procedural fairness, ensuring that applicants have a chance to participate meaningfully in the decision-making process.

Why is a procedural fairness letter issued?

A PFL can be issued for various reasons, reflecting different concerns that IRCC might have about your application. These reasons include but are not limited to:

Who is likely to receive a procedural fairness letter?

A PFL can be received by any immigration applicant whose application raises concerns that need clarification. This includes:

  • Applicants for permanent residence (through Express Entry, provincial nominee program, or family sponsorship)
  • Temporary resident visa, work permit, and study permit applicants
  • Individuals with medical or criminal inadmissibility issues
  • Applicants whose documents or claims have inconsistencies or errors

What to do if you receive a procedural fairness letter?

Receiving a PFL is serious but manageable with the right approach. First, do not panic. Carefully read the PFL to understand the specific concerns raised by IRCC. This is crucial for formulating an effective response. Next, gather all relevant documents and evidence that address IRCC’s concerns. This might include legal documents, medical reports, affidavits, or additional proof of relationship. Seek professional help to navigate this complex process. At Shory Law LLP LLP, we have extensive experience in preparing comprehensive responses to PFLs.

The Federal Court of Canada has emphasized the importance of procedural fairness in immigration applications. It requires applicants to be informed of concerns raised by decision-makers beforehand, allowing them an opportunity to respond effectively. This principle applies universally to canadian immigration applications, underscoring its critical role in cases involving misrepresentation, where the stakes include severe consequences like a five-year ban.

How to respond to a procedural fairness letter?

The Federal Court has highlighted that the purpose of a procedural fairness letter is to also allow for the applicant to have a meaningful opportunity to respond. Ensuring a timely response is critical. Respond within the timeframe specified in the PFL, as extensions can be requested but should not be relied upon. Provide a detailed and truthful explanation addressing each concern raised by IRCC. However, what many clients forget is that a PFL is an opportunity to clear any other misconceptions or issues that may not have been flagged in the initial application. It is very common to address the main concern but through our review of the file, find other issues that must be addressed as well. 

Use clear and concise language to communicate your points effectively. Include all necessary documents that support your explanations, ensuring they are well-organized and directly relevant to the concerns. Having an immigration lawyer draft and submit your response can significantly improve your chances of a favourable outcome. Legal representation ensures that your response is thorough, accurate, and persuasive.

Have you received a procedural fairness letter and don’t know what to do?

If you have received a Procedural Fairness Letter from IRCC and are unsure how to respond, don’t delay. Contact Shory Law LLP LLP today for detailed guidance and support. Our team is committed to helping you handle this process and work towards the best possible outcome for your immigration application. Reach out to us for a consultation and let us help you address IRCC’s concerns effectively. 

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