In the recent decision of Hammad v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2018 FC 459, the Federal Court found that it can be procedurally unfair for an Immigration Officer to find a document fraudulent without first giving the Applicant an opportunity to address the Officer’s concerns about the document.
In this case, the documents in question were lease agreements. The Applicant, who was working as a Property Manager, had applied for permanent residence in Canada under the Federal Skilled Worker program. Concerned with the documentation that she initially provided, a government branch called the Risk Assessment Unit (RAU) visited the property that she had managed in Pakistan, questioned company employees, and prepared a report alleging misrepresentation as to her employment. Although the Applicant responded to the concerns raised by this report with additional documents confirming her employment, including signed lease agreements, the Immigration Officer unreasonably refused her application and barred her from Canada for 5 years.
However, the Officer’s decision was successfully quashed by the Federal Court. The Court found it was improper for the Officer to draw adverse inferences regarding the authenticity of the documentation without a reasonable basis or providing the Applicant an opportunity to address the new concerns.