How To Survive An Admissibility Hearing

By Pace Law | March 9, 2011

Karen Kwan Anderson

by Karen Kwan Anderson – Pace Law Firm: Part of my job as an advocate in immigration matters is to defend a client who is accused of having engaged in misrepresentation.

A frequent allegation of misrepresentation is that the client entered into a marriage for the primary purpose of gaining permanent residence in Canada, popularly called a “marriage of convenience.”

The accuser is the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration by its counsel at the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Once accused, the client must attend an admissibility hearing before an adjudicator of the Immigration Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board. The possible outcomes of an admissibility hearing are:

(1) the client is found to have misrepresented themselves, and an exclusion order is issued. This means they must leave Canada and cannot return for 2 years.

(2) the client is not found to have misrepresented themselves, and no order is issued.

If the client is a permanent resident of Canada, they have the right to appeal an exclusion order. The appeal is heard by an adjudicator at the Immigration Appeal Division, which has jurisdiction to receive evidence in support of humanitarian and compassionate grounds, such as long-term residency in Canada, family connections in Canada, and the best interests of any child directly impacted by a decision.

Here are my tips on how to survive an often grueling examination during an admissibility hearing:

1. Prepare, prepare, prepare.
2. Anticipate that CBSA will ask tough questions about all material facts.
3. Read the disclosure from CBSA to know the allegations.
4. Remember key dates, such as date of marriage/separation/divorce, date of landing, any information on children if applicable, etc.
5. Relax and tell the truth.
6. Answer questions directly. Do not answer a question with a question.
7. Don’t guess. It’s OK to say you don’t know.
8. Wait for the entire question to be asked, then answer carefully.
9. Speak clearly and audibly.
10. Get to the hearing room early. It is disrespectful to all attendees if you are late without a reasonable explanation.

If you have any questions or need help, contact me here and I will respond as soon as possible.