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Date: 20010323

Docket: IMM-2096-00

Neutral citation: 2001 FCT 240

Toronto, Ontario, Friday the 23rd day of March 2001

PRESENT:            The Honourable Madam Justice Dawson


                                 PARTHA CHATTERJEE


                                                 - and -





[1]    Partha Chatterjee brings this application for judicial review of the decision of J.F. Hubert-Rouleau, First Secretary at the Canadian Embassy in Damascus, Syria ("visa officer") made on March 6, 2000 by which he refused Mr. Chatterjee's application for permanent residence in Canada.


[2]    Mr. Chatterjee's application for permanent residence disclosed that:

i)           He wished to be assessed in three occupations:

Business Development Officer, National Occupational Classification ("NOC") 4163.0;

Promotion Specialist, NOC 1122.2; and

Financial and Investment Analyst, NOC 1112.0;

ii)          He had worked as a Marketing Executive, Officer (Retail Marketing) and Financial and Investment Analyst and Financial Manager;

iii)          In addition to completing his matriculation, Mr. Chatterjee had completed his higher secondary education, a Bachelor of Commerce degree (received after two years of study) and he had received a Diploma in Financial Management from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management in Calcutta, India.

[3]    At issue in this application are the employment requirements set out in the NOC for each occupation Mr. Chatterjee stated he intended to pursue in Canada. The material requirements for each are as follows:

Business Development Officer: A bachelor's degree in economics, commerce, business administration or public administration is required.

Financial and Investment Analyst:           A bachelor's degree in commerce, business administration or economics and on-the-job training and industry courses and programs are usually required.

Promotion Specialist:                             A bachelor's degree or college diploma in business administration or commerce is usually required.

[4]                The CAIPS notes reflect that a formal assessment was conducted with respect to the occupation of Business Development Officer. No similar assessments are found for the occupations of Financial and Investment Analyst or Promotion Specialist. The visa officer's analysis is set out in the CAIPS notes as follows:

Candidat qui ne remplit pas les criteres requis pour etre evalue positivement. Detient un Baccalaureat (2 ans) qui ne peut etre comparable a celui obtenu au Canada. (3 ou 4 ans)

De plus, a mon avis, l'experience acquise depuis la fin des etudes ne permet pas de compenser pour l'absence de diplome requis. Sujet ne pourrait joindre le marche du travail canadien avec ses qualifications.

Demande refusee.

Lettre de refus preparee et envoyee aujourd'hui.

[5]                The visa officer expanded upon this analysis in the affidavit he swore in opposition to this application. There he stated:

6.             Le NOC est un outil canadien qui fait référence au [sic] conditions d'accès pour le Canada et donc, dans un contexte canadien. Le NOC indique pour la profession d'agent de développement des affaires (code 4163) qu'un diplôme universitaire en économie, commerce, administration des affaires ou en administration publique est exigé. Le demandeur possède un baccalauréat d'une durée de seulement deux ans en Inde, ce qui n'est pas comparable au diplôme universitaire canadien de premier cycle durant normalement trois ou quatre ans. Par conséquent, le diplôme du demandeur n'est pas suffisant pour remplir les conditions d'accès au Canada pour la profession en question. Je lui ai donc accordé zéro points pour le facteur professionnel (Occupational Factor).

7.             En ce qui a trait aux deux autres professions, le NOC indique pour l'analyste en investissement (code 1112), qu'un diplôme universitaire en économie, commerce, ou en administration des affaires est habituellement exigé. Tandis que pour le spécialiste de la promotion (code 1122.2), un diplôme universitaire ou collégial en commerce ou en administration des affaires est habituellement exigé. Encore une fois, j'ai conclu que le diplôme du demandeur ne remplissait pas les conditions d'accès au Canada pour les professions en question. Selon notre politique, pour en arriver à cette conclusion, j'ai aussi pris en considération l'expérience du demandeur cherchant à déterminer si cette expérience pouvait compenser l'absence du diplôme habituellement requis. Je suis venu à la conclusion que non. Premièrement, les tâches décrites dans les documents du demandeur se rapprochent beaucoup plus à des tâches d'un adjoint administratif ou d'un commis que d'un analyste financier ou agent de développement des affaires. De plus, le demandeur n'avait pas d'expérience en promotion.


[6]                The sole issue raised by the applicant is whether the visa officer erred by misinterpreting the employment requirements as set out in the NOC.


[7]                Mr. Chatterjee asserts that the visa officer imported a requirement of a specific length of study into the NOC educational requirements and further asserts that having obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree, albeit after two years of study, he met the NOC requirements.

[8]                It is an error of law for a visa officer to conclude that an applicant lacks academic qualifications listed in the NOC Employment Requirements solely on the basis of the fact that a bachelor's degree was obtained in two years (see Azim v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) (1999), 49 Imm. L.R. (2d) 127 (T.D.); Hannan v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) (2000), 4 Imm. L.R. (3d) 72 (T.D.)). The term "bachelor's degree" found in the NOC means a Canadian degree or its equivalent. Equivalence is not based solely upon the time required to obtain the degree.

[9]                In the present case, while the visa officer found that Mr. Chatterjee's bachelor's degree was not comparable to a bachelor's degree in Canada, it would appear that the only criteria applied by the visa officer was the length of study:

Detient un Baccalaureat (2 ans) qui ne peut etre comparable a celui obtenu au Canada. (3 ou 4 ans)

[10]            No reference was made to the cumulative effect of the diploma of financial management upon Mr. Chatterjee's academic credentials. Further, there does not appear to have been any consideration given to the fact that with respect to the occupation of Promotion Specialist, a college diploma may be sufficient.

[11]            While the visa officer's decision with respect to Mr. Chatterjee's qualifications may ultimately be correct, it cannot be supported by the analysis and considerations reflected in the record before the Court.

[12]            For these reasons, I have concluded that the visa officer erred in law in not considering whether Mr. Chatterjee's educational qualifications were equivalent to those required under the NOC by virtue of factors other than simply the years of study. The application for judicial review will therefore be allowed.

[13]            The applicant posed certification of this question:

Does a bachelor's degree as specified in the NOC occupation description have reference to a first level degree as described in factor 1 of schedule I of the Immigration Regulations, 1978?

[14]            The Minister opposed certification of that or any question, noting that the question posed does not arise out of the facts before the Court, and that the issue here is a factual question of equivalency.

[15]            I accept the Minister's submission and conclude that the duty on a visa officer to consider equivalency in this circumstance is established in the jurisprudence. No question is certified.



The decision of J. F. Hubert-Rouleau made on March 6, 2000 refusing the applicant's application for permanent residence is hereby set aside and the matter is remitted to a different visa officer for redetermination.

"Eleanor R. Dawson"


Toronto, Ontario

March 23, 2001


Names of Counsel and Solicitors of Record

COURT NO:                                                    IMM-2096-00

STYLE OF CAUSE:                                        PARTHA CHATTERJEE






DATE OF HEARING:                          TUESDAY, MARCH 20, 2001

PLACE OF HEARING:                                    TORONTO, ONTARIO


AND JUDGMENT BY:                                   DAWSON J.

DATED:                                                            FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 2001

APPEARANCES BY:                                     Mr. Max Chaudhary

For the Applicant

Ms. Amina Riaz


For the Respondent

SOLICITORS OF RECORD:                       Chaudhary Law Office

Barristers & Solicitors

405-255 Duncan Mill Rd.

North York, Ontario

M3B 3H9

For the Applicant

Morris Rosenberg

Deputy Attorney General of Canada

For the Respondent


                            Date: 20010323

                                                                                        Docket: IMM-2096-00












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