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A recent ruling by a Federal Court judge has overturned on appeal, six rejections of permanent residence applications by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada had chosen to send important questions to the applicants’ immigration consultant who was based in Vancouver, British Columbia, via e-mail, and those e-mails were never received.
Apparently, the government required more documents on the applicants, and rejected their applications after the e-mails weren’t replied to. Each of the e-mails had a 90-day deadline attached, but the consultant told CBC news he only ever received hard copy letters long afterwards informing him of the rejections along with some angry questions from his clients.
This ruling is extremely important for anyone who has ever had immigration issues because of an e-mail blunder, as they now may have the power to have their individual cases reopened.
According to the ruling, the government took a risk by using e-mail as their primary form of communication in these cases and should have expected the possibility of the e-mails not reaching their final destination
Despite this ruling we support CIC’s embracing of technology such as e-mail in delivering services. However, safeguards should be in place to protect applicants. Us lawyers are required to ensure client’s are notified of developments in their cases and they they actually get the message. We use email routinely. However, when sending emails, it is important to be aware of the limitations in terms of privacy issues and unreliability inherent in the technology. Therefore if we do not receive a timely reply from our client, we do the old fashioned thing and pick up a phone or send a letter by “snail mail”.
CIC has the same duties to their customers and should be responsible for the way in which they deliver their services just like us lawyers. As you can see, even the slightest mess-ups can lead to immigration refusals. To prevent these, hire an immigration lawyer for your best shot at immigrating to Canada.
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