Are you or anyone you know a refugee claimant?
Did you just receive your decision from the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) and you found out it was a negative decision? Well it is understandable that this will make you extremely sad but do not lose hope as a matter of fact due to the stringent time limits on what to do next, you can not afford to wallow in your sadness for too long, because as the African proverb goes, even while we cry we must still be able to see. The Canadian government still allows a pathway for you to fight the negative decision through a series of appeals.
The first step is for you to approach a Canadian immigration/refugee consultant or lawyer. Most likely you had retained one earlier to help you through the refugee hearing process so it is best to return to him/her because that is who will know your case better. Now, we have observed that the main hinderance to most denied refugee claimants filing for their administrative appeal is the cost, some refugees are not financially able to cover their legal fees and Ontario’s legal aid often do not cover appeals, so lawyers that helped with the refugee hearings while charging Ontario legal aid for that process now have to charge them directly and the fees might be to exorbitant for the refugee claimants; in such circumstances I will advice the claimants to retain the services of Registered Immigration Consultants who might charge cheaper and give accommodating payment plans/structures.
After seeing and retaining your immigration counsel, the next step is to file and submit the “notice of appeal” to notify the Refugee Appeal Division(RAD) of your intention to appeal the decision of the RPD within 15 days of receiving the negative decision(15 days is the deadline established by the Canadian Government to notify the Refugee Appeals Division(RAD) of your intention to file an appeal) and after this you have an extra 15 days to submit your brief which is a written argument about your reason and case for an appeal to overturn the decision of the member(Refugee hearing judges are called members).
Appeals before the RAD are rarely conducted orally, and are most often reviewed in writing.
For appeals to be successful though you will need to have some important elements in the brief and the stronger you prove these elements to be the better your chances of having the members decision overturned.
Some of the critical elements that will help your appeal are these:
· Proof that the negative decision by the Refugee Protection Division was wrong in fact and/or law
· Introduce new evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the RPD decision was made.
It is very critical that you follow and obey the time limits and deadlines set for the submission of the “notice to appeal” and the brief also known as “appellant’s record” because many appeals just get rejected mainly on the basis of not being received on a timely basis and once the RAD does not register an appeal on file it will trigger the beginning of removal/deportation process by the Canada Border Service Agency(CBSA), which you do not want.
It is also noteworthy to tell you that if you miss the time limit to file the notice of appeal or the appellant's record and you still want to continue with the appeal, you must file an application for an extension of time.
Once an appeal is submitted to the RAD, the member reviewing your claim will determine whether there is merit to the appeal. If your appeal is successful, the RAD may proceed in one of two ways, by either:
· Returning your application back to the RPD for redetermination according to new instructions; or
· Substituting its own decision for the RPD’s, and granting your claim for refugee protection.
If the member determines and decides that there isn’t merit to your appeal or not enough to overturn or return the refugee claim application back for redetermination; do not worry, you still have other pathways to fight and continue your appeal such as the Federal Court and other immigration options which you can discuss properly with your immigration counsel.
About The Author
Olayinka Ogundipe is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant with Arborway Immigration Inc a Canadian Immigration Firm located in the GTA. He is a member in good standing with The Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC), which is the Canadian government mandated supervisory, licensing and regulatory body for all Canadian Immigration Consultants and also an Ontario appointed Commissioner of Affidavit on Immigration, Citizenship and Refugee matters.