Canadian Immigration News

Your Canadian Visa Application Was Refused? What to Do Next

2.5 minute read
"If your application is refused by the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), then you receive a refusal letter. However, oftentimes, the refusal letter hardly clears the reasons why your application was refused. According to a special report by the Information Commissioner of Canada, visa applicants are generally unable to gather information about their visa application. This includes applications for both temporary and permanent residence programs, for example, study permits, work permits, visitor visas, and Canadian immigration refusals of applications. "
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Jul 17, 2021
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If your application is refused by the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), then you receive a refusal letter. However, oftentimes, the refusal letter hardly clears the reasons why your application was refused. According to a special report by the Information Commissioner of Canada, visa applicants are generally unable to gather information about their visa application. This includes applications for both temporary and permanent residence programs, for example, study permits, work permits, visitor visas, and Canadian immigration refusals of applications. 

What Is Included in the Refusal Letters?

Generally, these refusal letters are very vague and hardly ever provide a clear-cut reason for the refusal of the application. For temporary visa programs, refusal letters usually include generic information stating the applicant’s inability to meet the eligibility requirements. It may contain a list of all possible reasons, for example, lack of funds, previous travel record, the intention of visit, etc.

For immigration applications, it is the same. The refusal letter includes a generic statement on the applicant’s ineligible status. There might even be 2-3 sentence paragraphs explaining the reason. Sometimes, if the immigration officer has concerns about certain information or documents provided by the applicant, then they send a procedural fairness letter to allow the applicant to respond. If you went through this process, then your refusal letter may include a short statement on how the additional information failed to absolve the visa officer’s concern. 

In any case, refusal letters do not include detailed reasons for the rejection of your application. These reasons may require more than a page of reasoning from IRCC instead of a few short sentences. Therefore, it is not shared with the applicants.

How Can Applicants Find Out the Reason for the Refusal of Their Application?

In such cases, applicants can access IRCC’s internal notes, also known as the Global Case Management System (GCMS) notes. Applicants can obtain these notes by submitting an Access to Information Act or Privacy Act request (ATIP request). The GCMS notes can be very helpful as they include detailed information about an application in processing and also any concerns the visa officer may have before sending a procedural fairness letter or a refusal letter. While it is not common knowledge that you can make an ATIP request, the information is spreading due to social media and online platforms. IRCC received 62,234 ATIP requests in 2017-18, which later increased to 116,928 in 2019-20.

Why Is There An Increase In ATIP Requests Made By Applicants?

Since IRCC does not give a detailed explanation for refusing an immigration application, it has seen a dramatic increase in ATIP requests. As the immigration process is long and complex, most applicants would want to know the reason for refusal to ensure that the same mistakes are not repeated. In response to this, IRCC has ensured that it plans to increase the amount of detail included in the reasons stated on the refusal letters. IRCC also plans on modernizing its website and launching an online portal to provide more information about the status of applications in processing. However, IRCC does not plan to give out copies of GCMS notes to applicants whenever they request one. 

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