Federal Court denies permanent residency to start-up business class applicants

If one person in a group is refused, all associated applications must be refused

Federal Court denies permanent residency to start-up business class applicants

The Federal Court has upheld the denial of five applications for permanent residence under the start-up business class.

In Damangir v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2024 FC 599, the applicants, Houman Damangir, Shahram Laleh, Reza Damangir, Shahram Mahmoudzadeh Hashtroudi, and Hadi Dadpoor, sought judicial review of the decisions of a visa officer denying their application. However, the federal court deemed the decisions as reasonable and did not breach procedural fairness.

The central issue arose from Hashtroudi's failure to disclose a past Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) refusal. This led to a violation of subsection 16(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which mandates truthful answers in applications. This non-disclosure resulted in Hashtroudi being found inadmissible under paragraph 41(a) of the act.

The visa officer also denied visas to the other four applicants based on the interconnected nature of their applications. According to subsection 98.08(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, if one applicant in a group under the start-up business class is refused, all associated applications must be refused. The court noted that this rule highlights the collective dependency embedded within the start-up business class program.

Background details revealed that in May 2020, the applicants received a start-up business class commitment certificate from Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre in Oshawa, Ontario. Despite their efforts, which included founding the business "Civil Estimator" in Canada, their applications were imperilled by procedural issues.

Specifically, the visa officer's concerns were initially communicated in a procedural fairness letter that cited Hashtroudi’s previous non-disclosures, including not declaring his intentions to reside outside Quebec and lacking a detailed business plan. Although Hashtroudi responded to these concerns, his reply did not address the TRV refusal in 2019, which was crucial to the officer's final decision.

The Federal Court noted that the duty of procedural fairness owed in visa applications is relatively low, focusing on applicants providing complete and truthful information from the outset. The court emphasized that the applicants had sufficient opportunity to address the concerns raised by the visa officer in their procedural fairness letter response.

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