Iranian man with bachelor’s, master’s degrees denied study permit for two-year BCIT diploma

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A 57-year-old Iranian man accepted into BCIT’s two-year chemical and environmental technology diploma program has been denied a study permit in part because he already has too much education and experience in the field.

Hosein Khazaie was accepted into the program at the Burnaby institute in November 2021 and pre-paid $21,000, which more than covered his entire tuition of $20,499.98 for the first year, according to a Federal Court of Canada ruling in his case.

In his study plan, Khazaie said he wanted to start his own environmental management systems consulting agency in Iran and that a “certificate from a developed country significantly increases the chance of successful contracts and business for a consulting organization.”

But he was refused a study permit by an immigration officer who wasn’t satisfied he was a “genuine student” who would leave Canada after his program was finished, according to the ruling.

Among the officer’s reasons was that Khazaie already has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Abadan Institute of Technology in Iran and a master’s degree in construction management from the Grenoble Graduate School of Business in France.

And most of his professional career since 1992 has been spent in the petrochemical and oil-and-gas field – including work as an environmental management systems auditor in Iran’s oil and gas industry.

“Given the applicant’s previous education and work history, their motivation to pursue studies in Canada at this point does not seem reasonable,” stated the officer in a refusal letter quoted in the ruling.

The officer also had concerns about Khazaie’s family ties to Iran, since he said he intended to bring his wife and two children to Canada on a temporary resident visa while he was studying here.

“When I consider these elements and balance them against the current economic and security situation in Iran and how it relates to the applicant, I am not satisfied that applicant is a genuine student who would leave Canada at the end of authorized stay,” stated the refusal letter.

Khazaie appealed to the Federal Court for a judicial review, arguing the officer’s concerns were “neither justified, nor supported by the evidence.”

But Federal Court Judge Richard Bell upheld the immigration officer’s decision.

Bell noted Khazaie already has a master’s degree from a “clearly western university” and the BCIT program appeared to be “significantly below” his current level of education.

Bell also noted there was evidence Khazaie’s professional and family ties to Iran would be weak, since there would only be contract work waiting for him on his return and since he intended to bring his family to Canada on temporary visas.

“Although the officer did not address every argument advanced by the applicant, his reasons are robust and meet the hallmarks of reasonableness,” Bell said.

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