Recent Decisions on Study Permits

You might be wondering whether you can challenge your study permit refusal. You aren’t alone. For several applicants, the reasons for refusal were completely unexpected.

In this post, we highlight two recent court decisions that say the officer’s refusals were unreasonable.

Genuineness of Application

Let’s say you have a Master’s degree. A few years later, you decide to take a lower-level course in Canada. Would that be an adequate basis for refusal?

In Seyedsalehi v Canada, the officer concluded that it was illogical for the holder of a Master’s degree to take a college-level course. This was held to be unreasonable by the Federal Court, because the officer did not engage with the applicant’s reasons for choosing the program, and ultimately stepped into the role of career counselling.

This case suggests that an applicant’s education does not need to follow an upwards track for their application to be considered genuine. Applicants can pursue career interests that diverge from their existing background, provided that they can provide sufficient reasons for doing so.

Reasons for Choosing the Study Program

Why you chose the particular study program in Canada – and not a similar program elsewhere – may also be considered by an officer. However, an officer cannot rely on the mere possibility that similar study programs exist elsewhere; they must rely on evidence to refuse an application on that basis.

What if the Canadian program seems disproportionately costly in light of your financial circumstances?

An officer must consider whether you have the ability to pay for tuition and living expenses while in Canada. However, once proven that you have sufficient funds, then it can be unreasonable for an officer to refuse your application just because you place a high value on education. As stated in Najmi v Canada, “it is not an officer’s role to determine the value of learning to an applicant.”


The outcome of any case is dependent on the facts and quality of evidence provided. The chances of refusal can be reduced if one puts forward a strong application from the start. We welcome any questions you may have about putting your best foot forward in study permit applications.