“Intent”

Marissa just hung up the phone after talking to her Canadian boyfriend, Matthew, whom she met online six months ago. She is excited that she couldn’t wait to start packing for her visit to Canada. Based on their last conversation, she will visit Matthew in Toronto and that they already have planned their itinerary.

 

Based on Matthew’s instructions, Marissa started her application for a visitor visa to Canada. She began to gather her documents and the forms she needed to fill up. Marissa prepared a cover letter in support of her application. She mentioned in her letter that she will come to see her boyfriend in Toronto.

While preparing the letter, Marissa got drowned in deep thoughts. She had been feeling stressed at work lately. Her workload had increased dramatically that she even had to render overtime work almost everyday. There were times when she had been called by her boss over the phone on weekends to follow up on projects that were due the following Monday. Her work had never been as exhausting as before. Her Friday night outs with her friends became lesser and lesser each week. Until there were none.

Displeased and feeling isolated in her social circle, Marissa resorted to seeking online friends — till she met Matthew through a popular dating app. She was elated with her newly found source of excitement, as well as the thought that she will be able to come to Canada.

A week after she submitted the visitor visa application to the Canadian visa office in Manila, Marissa filed a resignation to her company due to the increasing amount of pressure that she could no longer handle. At the back of her mind, she still has a few savings to finance her expenses till she leaves for Canada to visit Matthew. It also crossed her mind that since she is a university graduate of a Marketing course with a couple of years of work experience, she may as well look for a job while in Canada. She might be able to get a job in Canada — who knows? After all, she has nothing to lose anymore. All these thoughts flooded her mind that she became more and more thrilled to fly out of the country.

A couple of months after she submitted the application, Marissa received a letter from the visa office. Marissa was dismayed to find out that the visa office refused her application.

* * * *

Such a case as Marissa’s may cause disbelief and confusion. When Marissa prepared the application for a visitor visa to Canada, she clearly mentioned her purpose. She was, however, oblivious to the fact that all other information and surrounding circumstances pertaining to her may otherwise show another intent. And this is where an evidence of inconsistency come into play. Once this is seen as a crack in the application, the visa officer deciding on the application will refuse it outright, citing that the reason for the application is unsatisfactory.

Let us analyze why the visa officer refused Marissa’s application for a visitor visa.

Each applicant to Canada is assessed based on eligibility and admissibility. Certain immigration programs may have its own unique requirements, but an applicant needs to meet the basic requirements that includes a valid travel document, be in good health and has no criminal record or immigration-related conviction.

Specific to a visitor visa application, the applicant needs to show proof of funds to support his of her expenses while in Canada. The applicant must also show proof of strong ties to the home country. These ties would include employment, financial assets, family, or otherwise what can be categorized as compelling reasons for the applicant to go back to the home country. Further, the applicant should also be able to convince the visa officer that he/she will leave Canada after the planned length of stay. This is where intent is being established by the applicant. The burden of proof to leave Canada after the allowed period is on the applicant. Why is this essential? The visa being applied for should be acquired and consummated according to its purpose. For a visitor visa, clear as a crystal that an applicant intends to do just that —- to visit.

In the case cited, Marissa’s application for a visitor visa doesn’t show compelling reasons for her to go back to her country of residence. For one, she doesn’t have a job anymore to go back to. She has neither financial assets nor land properties in her name where her presence is vital. She may have a few savings at her disposal, but it may not even be enough for the length of time she will spend in Canada.

The visa officer deciding on her application may also evaluate strength of ties to Canada as against the home country. Marissa’s intent to overstay in Canada may outweigh her cited reason over the fact that she has a boyfriend in Canada. Based on immigration law, however, this may not be a disqualifying factor. But specific to Marissa’s case, the fact of having a boyfriend in Canada — coupled with being unemployed at her home country and no assets, too — prove to be stronger reasons for her not to leave Canada at the end of allowable period. The intent may not be expressed, but they are implied based on the facts at hand. The visa officer deciding on a case sees the underlying intent on a macro perspective. Once the true intent is established and if it isn’t congruent to the facts, the application may be refused.

Another thing to bear in mind as well is that decisions of the visa officers are highly discretionary. Even the most complete of applications may receive refusals. Hence, it is better to err on the side of caution if an approval is never guaranteed. This way, the credibility of the case will be referenced and preserved for future applications.

Disclaimer: The case mentioned in this article is based on a true scenario with the names, events and places withheld for confidentiality purposes. Similarities of the same may purely be coincidental.

 

Reposted from Baybayin News

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