Reference Letters and Immigration Applications

Reference Letters and Immigration Applications

In most immigration programs, applicants are asked for reference letters from current and previous employers.

Often these letters require employers to list an employee’s duties. Many times, applicants find that their current and previous employers will only provide them with letters that indicate the time that they worked at the company, their job title, and salary. One court case, decided in the spring, outlines the importance of reference letters which contain a list of duties.

In the case of Luongo v. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Ms. Luongo submitted reference letters that did not include her job duties. Instead, she included a resume that listed her job duties. Ms. Luongo’s application was refused.

Ms. Luongo took this case to court arguing that she should have been given another chance to provide details of her job duties. She also argued that the immigration officer should have considered the duties in the resume. Ms. Luongo lost her case.

In the decision, the judge pointed out that the application instructions specifically requested Ms. Luongo to provide a reference letter with her job duties.

The judge also said that an immigration officer can determine that a resume is not satisfactory proof of a person’s job duties. As Ms. Luongo was expressly warned that she was not going to get another chance, the judge found that it was her responsibility to provide all of the relevant reference letters.

If immigration clearly states the documents required for an application, an immigration officer does not have to remind applicants of this. The judge, in this case, said that if it was impossible for Ms. Luongo to get the information requested of her, she should have given an explanation as to why. As well, she should have provided other objective evidence of her job duties.

It is important in any immigration application to provide all of the information required at the start of the process. For reference letters, this can be difficult for many reasons. In cases where full reference letters cannot be provided, it is important to get as much independent documentation to prove, as much as possible, why complete letters cannot be provided.

This Article is prepared for general information purposes only and is intended to provide comments for readers and friends of the Filipino Journal. The contents should not be viewed as legal advice or opinion.

Reis is a lawyer with the law firm of Aikins, MacAulay & Thorvaldson LLP and practices in the areas of immigration law.

His direct line is 957-4640. If you would like to know more about Reis or Aikins you can visit the firm’s web page at, follow Reis on Twitter at!/ImmigrationReis, or connect with him on LinkedIn at