When an Applicant’s and a Visa Officer’s Account Differs

24th Feb 2016 Comments Off on When an Applicant’s and a Visa Officer’s Account Differs

It is not uncommon for applicants to have a differing account of what transpired during a visa interview or a port of entry matter from what an immigration officer says occurred.  As such, it is very important that applicants take detailed notes of every interaction that they have with government officials.

The Federal Court recently dealt with the issue of inconsistencies in Gedara v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2016 FC 209.  The Federal Court stated (emphasis added, and citations removed for ease of reading):

The affidavits filed by the Applicant and by the Interviewing Officer present opposing accounts of the tone of the interview and whether concerns were specifically communicated. I find the Applicant’s affidavit more persuasive and assign it more weight for the following reasons.

I agree with the reasoning in Rukmangathan, above, at paras 30, 31, citing Parveen v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), that “…[v]isa officers deal with many applications, one can expect that they will not have as precise a memory of the event as does the applicant” The interview took place on March 11, 2015, yet the Officer’s affidavit was sworn in December 4, 2015 – approximately nine months later. The extended passage of time and the number of interviews this Officer would have conducted in the interim calls into question the reliability of her attested statements made months later.

As well, the Officer’s affidavit essentially reiterates the GCMS notes, adding very little to their substance.

The takeway from this decision is clear, and it is the importance of taking notes at the same time (or as shortly thereafter) as the interaction with the government official.

The Federal Court issued a similar statement in Rukmangathan v.

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