150 People Who Were Issued Visas By Accident Get To Stay

According to the Vancouver Sun, about 150 people who applied for permanent residency in Canada and were told they had been approved, were approved by mistake because of a computer error. Screen Shot 2012-11-19 at 7.51.14 PM

However, this week Citizenship and Immigration Canada admitted the error and decided that those who were given visas could keep them.

“It was an administrative error on the part of my ministry,” said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney. “We make over two million decisions a year, about 7,000 a day. We are making a major IT change so I think it’s understandable that a small error of this nature would be made.”

Of the 150 people, 50 are applicants while the remaining 100 are family members of those applicants.

All of the applicants were qualified to come to Canada based on their applications, and they had passed all applicable security checks for coming to Canada as permanent residents. But they applied to come to Canada through the Federal Skilled Worker Program before February of 2008, and their applications should have been destroyed when the government stopped the program to get rid of the backlog. Most people in this situation would have had to re-apply for the program and wait all over again.

Is it fair that these people got to keep their visas? Well, consider that most of them had quiet their jobs, sold their homes and already packed up and moved their families to Canada, only to find out their visas were a “mistake” at the airport.

“There’s a fairness argument both ways,” said Kenney. “I think it would be fundamentally unfair to the thousands who were not impacted by the glitch and remain out of luck in terms of their bid to come to Canada. We have chosen to not punish people who have acted in good faith and who we told to come to Canada. I think that’s the best solution.”


Any information provided here does not constitute legal advice and is intended for general information only. Should you require legal advise, you are encouraged to contact a lawyer directly. All blog postings are public and are not subject to solicitor/client confidentially. Case results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case, and case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any further case undertaken by the lawyer.

Tags: Immigration Mistake Immigration Refusal Skilled Worker Program

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the American Bar Association. He is frequently called upon to appear in the media to discuss Canadian and US immigration issues effecting North Americans. He has been interviewed by Canada AM, CTV, Canada News Net, the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star and has given lectures on immigration topics overseas.

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