West Vancouver woman loses immigration appeal

The owner of an $8-million West Vancouver mansion has had her appeal of a deportation order tossed out by a federal court judge.

Xiao Qing Li requested a judicial review of a June 2017 immigration appeal decision, which dismissed her application to renew her permanent resident status.

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But federal court Judge Henry Brown concluded Feb. 21 there was no compelling reason to overturn the earlier decisions, which revoked Li’s permanent resident status because she failed to meet residency requirements.

According to the federal court decision, Li, 49, originally came to Canada with her husband and two sons from China through Quebec’s immigrant investor program in 2005. They were declared permanent residents in December 2006.

But just 10 days later, the family returned to China and “over the next seven years, they only intermittently visited Canada,” according to the court decision.

In 2011, Li and her sons applied to renew their permanent resident cards, using a Richmond-based company New Can Consultants Ltd., that  “fraudulently facilitated false employment and other documents for expired permanent resident cards and did so for (Li),” according to the ruling.

Li knew when she applied for the renewal in 2011 she had not spent enough time in Canada to meet the residency requirements, so claimed she was absent for 837 days, rather than the 1332 days Canada Border Services later estimated she had actually been out of the country, according to the decision.

In 2014, she returned to Canada with her sons, with the intention of living in Canada on a long-term basis. Meanwhile, Li’s husband, a senior partner at a large Chinese law firm, renounced his permanent resident status in 2015, making Li and her sons what is often described as a “satellite family.”

But in April 2016, while trying to enter Canada from the U.S., Li was questioned by Canada Border Services about the time she had spent out of the country. Officers concluded Li had been absent for “quite substantially more than allowed” between 2011 and 2016.

Li appealed a removal order on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

But an immigration appeal board decision last year concluded “it is clear (Li) did not move to Canada with the intention of living here permanently after obtaining her PR status.”

While the appeal board considered factors including how well her sons fit in at their Canadian schools and their stated preference to remain in Canada, along with the family’s $10 million in Canadian assets, it also considered the family’s considerable ties to China, including Li’s husband’s job at which she testified he earns $500,000 to $800,000 annually.

The appeal board concluded the family has plenty of money which would enable them to send their sons to westernized “international” schools in China if they wanted, thereby mitigating any impacts of their mother being asked to leave the country.

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