Our Recent Success Stories
At BLG we are privileged to work on behalf of many wonderful people, companies and associations. We represent people from the time they step foot into the country in airport waiting rooms all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Our clients often tell us after their case was concluded it would have helped to know of similar stories that are real and not just what you hear on the street. So every month we post a few stories to celebrate our success and offer some comfort to those who will soon embark on a similar journey . . .
Bench Positive for Iraqi Refugee
A woman from Iraq, fleeing gender-based and religious persecution, was accepted as a refugee at the conclusion of her refugee hearing. Our office worked closely with the claimant to gather documentation and prepare her to testify. The Member accepted that the claimant was credible and that state protection would not exist for her in Iraq. The Member also accepted that the claimant’s decision not to claim refugee protection in two countries prior to her arrival in Canada did not undermine her fear of persecution.
She will be applying for permanent residence in 2013, establishing a permanent home for herself in Canada.
Successful Refugee Claim!
A man from central Asia was recently successful in his Convention refugee claim on the basis of his imputed political opinion. We prepared an extensive collection of documents for this client, including a great deal of evidence about how human rights defenders are treated in his country of origin. Thanks to keen preparation and strong supporting evidence, our client received an oral decision at the end of his refugee hearing granting his claim.
Federal Skilled Worker Application Returned to Visa Office for Re-Determination
A man who had applied to immigration to Canada as a skilled worker has a second opportunity for his application to be approved after a settlement was reached with the Department of Justice. After this permanent residence application was refused, our office assisted our client in Judicially Reviewing the refusal at the Federal Court. Convincing legal arguments and affidavit evidence convinced the Court to schedule a full hearing on the merits of his application. Further written arguments in support of our client were filed after Leave was granted; then, a day before the hearing was to have proceeded the Department of Justice agreed to settle the matter and have our client’s application sent back to the Visa Office for Re-Determination.
Successful Residency Appeal
A man diagnosed with a terminal illness who did not meet the residency requirement as a permanent resident was recently successful in his residency appeal before the Immigration Appeal Division. We prepared extensive documentary disclosure for this client establishing the humanitarian and compassionate basis for his case. We also worked closely with the client and his family in order to prepare them for the hearing. Thanks to keen preparation and strong supporting evidence, our client’s appeal was allowed and he has been able to remain in Canada as a permanent resident.
Couple Reunited At Last!
Husband and wife, separated for nearly 5 years while waiting for their spousal sponsorship to reunite them in Canada, find success at the Immigration Appeal Division. The couple, who originally filed their spousal sponsorship application without counsel, were refused with the Visa Officer determining that the marriage was not genuine and that the foreign national was criminally inadmissible to Canada.
Our office worked with the couple extensively to prepare them for giving testimony at their hearing. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board Member provided oral reasons for allowing the appeal, citing the foreign national’s substantial efforts at rehabilitation. The couple are now awaiting final processing at the Visa Office, before being reunited in Canada.
Refugee Claim Approved! – Escape from Torture
A man has been determined to be a refugee by the Refugee Protection Division. Working with our client to obtain credible documentation regarding the plight of his family, we were able to establish that he would be at risk of detention and torture on return to his country of origin. Safe in Canada, he may now take steps to apply for his wife and children to be reunited with him here.
It has been a successful week for the processing team at Bellissimo Law Group! Following ongoing communication with Service Canada for over one year, we were able to secure a positive Live-In Caregiver Labour Market Opinion (LMO) for a kind lady who was in dire need of a live-in caregiver to care for her two elderly parents. We are now in the process of preparing the work permit application for the foreign worker wherein we once again anticipate a positive outcome. Together with this good news, we are also celebrating a second positive LMO, and two approved overseas spousal sponsorship applications. Congratulations to both employers, and to the couples who will soon be reuniting in Canada!
Successful Refugee Claim!
A woman from North Africa was recently successful in her Convention Refugee claim on the basis of her gender and religion. We prepared an extensive collection of documents for this client, including a great deal of evidence about how women and religious minorities are treated in her country of origin. Thanks to keen preparation and strong supporting evidence, our client is awaiting the arrival of her positive written decision, formally granting her refugee status.
Madam Justice Snider sends refugee for redetermination
Last fall a new client asked us to review a decision he had received following his refugee claim. We assessed the decision and advised that the reasons provided by the Board Member appeared inadequate and further advised that the Member had unreasonably determined that our client’s risk was generalised, rather than personal. We applied to have the Federal Court review the Board Member’s decision, filing written argument on this basis.
Our client’s case was heard before the Honourable Madam Justice Snider. Upon hearing oral arguments, the Court agreed that the decision was unreasonable and issued an Order directing the Refugee Protection Division to re-determine his refugee claim.
Removal Order Cancelled for Long-Time Permanent Resident
Years ago, our office was retained to assist a Canadian permanent resident who was facing removal from Canada because of having obtained a criminal record. This man had been in Canada since he was a child, and had no family remaining in his country of origin. However, his criminal record was serious and so the government had issued a removal order against him. We appealed the order.
After seven years of having his removal from Canada stayed by the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD), we succeeded in having the IAD cancel his removal order allowing him to remain in Canada. At his fourth reconsideration hearing, the IAD agreed that our client had taken positive and proactive steps to comply with Immigration and to not commit any further criminal acts. Our client now need not fear removal, as he can remain in Canada with his family with all the rights of a permanent resident.
Removal for Mother and Son
Our office was recently retained to delay the removal of our client’s mother and brother from Canada. The mother had an important, upcoming medical appointment, and the brother wanted to complete his school year. On this basis, our office was able to successfully argue that their removal from Canada should be deferred until after the appointment and the school year ended.
Now, the family will remain together in Canada until the summer, meaning that neither the mother’s health nor her brother’s education will be adversely affected. With a pending family-class sponsorship, the family hopes to be permanently reunited in the future.
Bench Positive for Mexican Refugees
A family from Mexico, fleeing gender-based violence, were accepted as refugees at the conclusion of their refugee hearing. Our office worked closely with the family to gather documentation and prepare them for the emotional testimony that would be provided. We obtained the Vulnerable Person designation, which allowed us additional lee-way in presenting evidence to the Refugee Protection Division. Ultimately, after emotionally charged testimony, the Member accepted that the claimants were credible, that state protection would not exist for them in Mexico, and that they could not live safely anywhere in their country.
This family will be applying for permanent residence in 2012, and can take comfort in the fact that they may establish a permanent home for themselves in Canada.
Successful Refugee Claim!
A man from the Caribbean was recently awarded Convention Refugee status on the basis of sexual orientation. We prepared an extensive collection of documents for this client, including a great deal of evidence about how members of the LGBT community are treated in his country of origin. Thanks to keen preparation and strong supporting evidence, our client was granted refugee status at the conclusion of his brief hearing.
Our client is now beginning his new life in Canada.
Two Year Battle with IAD; Spousal Sponsorship Appeal Success
Our client retained our services after his application to sponsor his wife had been refused by an overseas visa office. Our office appealed this decision to the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD), and began to prepare him for his hearing. This was a complex appeal, involving past criminal charges, a refugee claim, a proxy marriage, and a couple who had never met in person. Both the genuineness of their relationship and the legality of their marriage were in dispute before the IAD.
After five volumes of disclosure, four hearing dates, hours of testimony, and both oral and written argument, our client has succeeded in his appeal. His wife’s application for permanent residence will now be processed and she should be joining him in Canada soon.
Not Inadmissible for Misrepresentation
Our office was retained to assist a woman accused of having misrepresented herself to Immigration authorities. She had sought to extend her temporary resident visa because she was being sponsored to Canada by her husband, yet later the husband advised Immigration authorities that their relationship was never genuine and that they had not cohabited. According to Immigration, they would never have issued the visa extension, had they known this information.
Over the length of a full-day hearing, we managed to establish that it was the husband not our client, who had misrepresented information to the Immigration authorities. This result required a great deal of documentary evidence, witness preparation, and oral argument. Our client’s record with Immigration is clean and she will not be issued an exclusion order barring her return to Canada.
Minor Granted Refugee Protection
Recently, a young man from the Caribbean was granted protection as a Convention refugee. Only after coming to Canada and finding safety with a family member here did he disclose the violence he faced in his home. The police, rather than help a runaway returned him to his home. His family in Canada fought for him to be able to stay with them in safety.
With very little documentary evidence to corroborate his claim for protection, our office worked with him to prepare him to give testimony before the Refugee Protection Division. At the end of the hearing, he was found to be credible and the Board Member granted his claim for protection.
Second Sponsorship Approved
After our client’s first application to sponsor his Chinese wife was refused because an officer determined their relationship to not be genuine, our office was retained to provide assistance. After reviewing their application, we advised that they discontinue their appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division and, instead, submit a second sponsorship application.
Our office prepared this new application for permanent residence, addressing the past officer’s concerns in our submissions. Some 16 months later, they are paying the Right of Permanent Residence Fee and she will soon be joining her husband in Canada.
Mexican Refugee gets Second Chance at Refugee Hearing
By Order of the Federal Court, our client will have a second opportunity to present their circumstances to the Refugee Protection Division. The Board Member denying our client’s claim for protection determined that she had not done enough to obtain the protection of the Mexican government. The Member concluded that had she sought state protection on more occasions, that Mexico would have been able to provide the protection sought.
We prepared extensive written argumentation in advance of the Federal Court hearing. After oral arguments, a Judge accepted our submission that the Board Member had not considered all of the evidence before him, and that in doing so the Member acted in a manner which was procedurally unfair.
Husband Reunited with Wife and Daughter
A man who was sponsored to Canada by his wife was refused permanent residence on the basis of his criminal record. They retained our office for the appeal of this decision before the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD). There, we presented our research and submissions on criminal equivalency, arguing that the husband was not actually inadmissible for criminality. This involved research into the criminal laws of the foreign jurisdiction, understanding the nature of the offence committed, and Canadian criminal and immigration law.
Ultimately, the IAD was persuaded and this family will soon be reunited in Canada.
Bisexual Woman Gains Refugee Protection
A woman and her children sought refugee protection on the basis of the women’s sexual identity. With very little documentation to corroborate her identity, it was left to our office to prepare our client for the emotional and difficult testimony of establishing her sexual orientation. She was ultimately successful, with the Board Member finding her to be a genuine refugee claimant. She and her children will be permitted to remain in Canada without fear of return to her country of origin.
American Permanent Resident Granted Refuge
An elderly woman who had already become a permanent resident of the United States, was granted refugee status in Canada. Her claim was against her country of origin, but because of her American residency she was to be excluded from protection as she already had a safe alternative country in which to live. Our office prepared substantial disclosure and submissions to address exclusion and, after a lengthy review of recent jurisprudence with the Board Member, our client was granted Canada’s protection.
Our client, who came to Canada to be with her daughter, will now be applying for permanent residence in Canada.
Subjective Fear and Refugee Protection
Refugee claimants are expected to quickly flee from their country if they fear for their life. When they delay in leaving, or when they return to their country of origin, there is a presumption that they are not truly scared and so not at risk.
Recently, our office was able to obtain refugee protection for a young woman who had, on many occasions, returned to her home country. We helped prepare her for the hearing; there, she explained to the Board Member why she continued to risk her life. In the result, she was found to be a refugee.
Caribbean Woman Who Faced Lifetime of Domestic Abuse, Finds Refuge
Our office worked closely with an illiterate woman from the beginning of her refugee claim. We helped her tell her story on paper for the purposes of the Personal Information Form and also carefully prepared her for answering questions at the hearing. In consideration of her experiences, we were also able to secure designation as a Vulnerable Person, which allowed our counsel to lead the questioning at her refugee hearing. This type of accommodation is of great use for individuals who have survived trauma as it may make the refugee process less intimidating.
Our client was found to be a Convention Refugee and is now preparing to re-claim her life her in Canada.
Bench Positive for Refugee Reconsideration
After succeeding at Federal Court last year, our clients again appeared before the Refugee Protection Division. Facing changing country conditions and their abandoned asylum claim in the U.S.A., they had a difficult claim to prove. We assisted the clients in preparing for their hearing and made submissions on the basis of “compelling reasons” arguing that their past experiences were sufficient to render return, even at this time, unconscionable.
This young family, who has already been in Canada for nearly five years, will not be separated from other Canadian relatives. In the next months they will become permanent residents of Canada
Refugee Protection for Woman and Children from Caribbean
Last week, a young mother appeared before the Refugee Protection Division; her claim has now been accepted. Our client faced persecution on the basis of being a bisexual woman. Our office worked with the claimant to prepare her for giving difficult testimony and to support her claim through documentation from her country of origin; we successfully argued that even though women are not typically targeted, the fact that homosexual acts remain illegal is evidence of government tolerance for violence against sexual minorities. Happily the Member agreed.
Our client can now build a life in Canada with her children without fear of return.
Stay of Removal for Man with Schizophrenia
After an immigration officer refused to defer the removal of our client, we asked the Federal Court to intervene and stop his deportation from Canada. We argued that the risk of return for our client had not been properly assessed, given changing country conditions and our client’s mental health. Before even reaching a Federal Court judge, the Department of Justice consented to our request.
While our client has not ensured his permanent position in Canada, he has been granted another opportunity to explain to an officer why his removal at this time is unreasonable. This additional time may also mean that his outstanding immigration applications will be decided before he is again faced with removal.
Bench Positive at Refugee Hearing
A young woman fleeing from an honour crime was granted refugee protection at the conclusion of her refugee hearing. After questioning led by counsel, the Board Member was satisfied as to the woman’s credibility and her experiences; counsel then reviewed the expert opinions and country documentation submitted, demonstrating that state protection would not be available in her country of origin. Our client will now be able to start her life over as a permanent resident of Canada.
Grandfather of Four Granted Stay of Removal
A man with a criminal record stretching over 25 years was granted a stay of removal for a period of three years. Due to a pre-hearing conference between counsel, the hearing was able to conclude in under 30 minutes; relieving our client and his family members from the need for lengthy and emotional testimony. Our client, a father and grandfather to Canadian children, will be able to remain in Canada with his family while he demonstrates that he has rehabilitated his life.
Preventing Imminent Removal
Bellissimo Law Group stopped the deportation at Federal Court of a person who was facing imminent removal by the Canada Border Services Agency but had her entire life savings on the line if removed. The decision is notable because stopping removal for economic harm is challenging. Our team did well as did the Federal Court in preventing removal in these dire circumstances.
Federal Court Gave Failed Refugee a Second Chance
The Federal Court agreed with our assessment that the Refugee Protection Division incorrectly assessed a Tamil woman’s fear of return to Sri Lanka. Our client, who had withdrawn her claim for asylum in the USA, was deemed not to truly fear return; this decision was made while ignoring our client’s desire to be reunited with her family in Canada.
She will now have the opportunity to present her claim for refugee protection again, and while awaiting her new hearing she is able to remain with her family in Canada
Woman Seeking to Defend Her Interests in Lawsuit Granted Stay of Removal
With a pending humanitarian and compassionate application already filed and a lawsuit in progress, an Enforcement Officer refused to defer our client’s removal from Canada. On an emergency basis, our team pulled together an urgent motion to Federal Court requesting that her removal be stayed. We were successful in our arguments, and she will now have more time in Canada to gather evidence in support of her lawsuit and to make her bid for permanent residence.
Removal Order Cancelled
A young mother who had been issued a removal order after being found criminally inadmissible to Canada was successful before the Immigration Appeal Division. Although the client only retained our office’s assistance a week before her hearing, we were able to quickly gather evidence and conduct preparation sessions in advance of the hearing.
Her children and extended family may now rest easy, knowing that she is no longer under a removal order.
Successful Entry of Permanent and Temporary Residents
Although this section of our website usually focuses upon our high profile or more complex success stories – medical, criminality, last minute work permits, refugee cases, Federal Court, Immigration Appeal Division etc. we felt it was time to highlight the many permanent and temporary residents our Corporate team help everyday to obtain their status.
In particular, to acknowledge our hard working Corporate team that assists with Citizenship, Business Cases, Work Permits, Arranged Employment Opinions, Labour Market Opinions and successfully navigating the new waters of Skilled Worker Applications every day. Although you do not receive the spot light like our other cases we remembered – hats off to you all!
Unfairly Refused Skilled Worker Application finally Rectified
Our client’s skilled worker application was refused July 31, 2008 for language reasons. We found that the officer did not follow the Regulations and so we challenged the officer’s decision at Federal Court and negotiated a settlement to have the application sent back for reconsideration and the refusal overturned. Supplementary reconsideration submissions were done October 2009 and were recently approved.
The initial application which was submitted in 2003 was finally approved much to the satisfaction of our client and staff.
Second Stay of Removal for Father
A permanent resident of Canada received a second stay of removal before the Immigration Appeal Board after committing several further criminal offences. Although one of the conditions of his first stay of removal was that he commit no further criminal acts, our extensive pre-hearing negotiations resulted in a brief hearing and our proposed conditions being accepted by the Board.
Our client will now have a further two years with his wife, child and extended family; plenty of time to prove that he is committed to his rehabilitation and will make a positive contribution to Canada.
Refugee Fleeing Religious Persecution
After having his father kidnapped and escaping a kidnapping himself, our client made it to Canada to seek protection as a refugee. With substantial pre-hearing preparation, our client was ready to tell his story to the Immigration and Refugee Board. The Board accepted that our client was a member of a minority religion who had, personally, suffered persecution because of his religion.
A Stay of Removal for Criminal Inadmissibility
A young man came to our office with his removal order appeal scheduled for only days later. Charged with several crimes, stemming from his involvement with a gang, our office worked over time to interview and prepare our client, his family members and his employer for the hearing. Having removal stayed, where it is based on multiple criminal charges and alleged gang involvement, is not a simple matter. At the close of the first hearing, the Board was still not convinced that our client had taken steps to turn his life around and be a good and supportive father to his children. Our office engaged in post-hearing negotiations, involving the use of DNA evidence, and were able to establish that our client would not pose future risk to Canadians and deserved this second chance.
He now lives with his partner and their children, with whom he has taken an active parental role. Without a stay of removal, it is likely that he would have had very little contact with his children in the future, and this family would have forever been ripped apart.
We were recently successful in assisting our clients’ application for permanent residence. One of the applicants had a condition that would render s/he medically inadmissible. It was initially determined by Citizenship and Immigration Canada that the cost of medication would be too high and too great of a demand on the Canadian healthcare system. We challenged this finding through our specialized medical legal submissions, and we were able to convince the Minister that the family would not cause any such excessive demand based on their particular circumstances.
A woman who fled to Canada after suffering years of domestic violence, was granted the status of a Convention Refugee today. After genuine and credible testimony as to her fear of return and the practical ability to seek state protection for a woman in a ‘visiting relationship,’ the Board Member accepted that her life would be at risk should she return to her country.
Our client will soon be applying for permanent residence, and will finally be reunited with the children that she was forced to leave behind.
A Case of Permanent Residence
We recently were able to procure a permanent residence visa under the Federal Skilled Worker category for a client who was affected by the change of procedures in November 2008, when the Ministerial instructions came into effect. In this case, additional submissions were required to ensure that our client was being processed according to the right stream.
Fortunately, our submissions were successful and our client is now a happy permanent resident!
A Case of Mild Autism
We are pleased to have recently assisted our clients with a difficult case whose son was denied permanent resident status to Canada for medical inadmissibility reasons. It was determined by Citizenship and Immigration Canada initially that he required special education services and therefore would be an excessive demand on the Canadian healthcare system.
When we examined the case and reasons for concern, we were able to clearly establish that the diagnosis and extent of his social service requirements was misinterpreted. We were able to prove that the client was not in fact an excessive demand using expert medical opinion and financial calculations to the medical burden our client would be on the educational and healthcare system. We handle so many medical cases each month and we share in the emotional struggle with our clients and when all our hard work and diligence results in a huge obstacle being overcome and the dream to make Canada home realized – all we can say is way to go team!
Month of Urgent Stays of Removal!
As February comes to a close, we have to say we have had an unparalleled amount of removal cases we have had to act upon very quickly! Several of the clients who have come to us for assistance this month have had removal dates for either February or early March.
We are happy to say that we have made great progress with these cases and have received at least three stays of removal this month. Needless to say, our clients are very relieved that they are still in Canada!
Case of the Delayed Deportation
Mario Bellissimo reached an agreement with the Department of Justice under the guidance of the Federal Court to stop the deportation of a family until further investigation could be undertaken into the medical consequences of deportation. The matter was adjourned for a month. Mr. Bellissimo noted, ” that this is a fine example of both sides (the Applicant and the Department of Justice) with the direction of the Court working together to reach a fair resolution to ensure a person is not deported to potential harm”. On behalf of the clients we will work diligently to ensure all investigations are efficient and exhaustive. Deportation is traumatic and where it is possible to assist in a family avoiding this consequence it is a source of tremendous pride and a sense of accomplishment.
Case of Mistaken Charges
We attended an interview at the Greater Toronto Enforcement Centre (GTEC) for a client. The purpose of the interview was to determine whether the client shall be authorized to remain in Canada or a whether a removal order should be issued against the client. The client was presented with a report written under section 44(1), alleging that they were a person inadmissible to Canada due to criminality. The report contained some 17 charges for which the client was purportedly convicted.
In fact, the client in question was convicted of only one count, for which they received a conditional discharge. We therefore submitted that the report appears to be incorrect and requested further investigation of the court documentation. We also submitted that a conditional discharge does not constitute inadmissibility for immigration purposes.
After this interview, we were advised that the report in fact was written in error and the matter will be closed. No further steps in respect to our client’s inadmissibility will be taken by the CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency) and our client is now eligible to proceed with our application for landing.
We are very pleased on our client’s behalf that this misunderstanding and misinformation has been cleared up!
Case of Critical Deportation
We were approached by a client who received a deportation date coming up very soon and needed assistance in staying his deportation order. We had serious concerns in this case as if the client was removed from the country he would face a life-threatening medical condition. Despite the severe time restrictions and challenges involved, we desperately tried to procure a stay of removal for the client.
Mr. Bellissimo, was quoted as saying that he had “grave concerns about the applicant being removed from Canada”. After we successfully obtained a stay of removal, Mr. Bellissimo stated that he was “very pleased that the Federal Court agreed that this deportation should be stopped pending the ultimate resolution of the underlying litigation.”
We are happy to have contributed to the relief of the applicant, his family and the greater community by preventing a potentially life-threatening deportation.