Mr. Raj Sharma graduated with his Juris Doctor (JD) from the University of Alberta, Faculty of Law (2001). After clerking with the Alberta Court of Appeal, Mr. Sharma completed his articles with the Federal Department of Justice. Mr. Sharma then worked as an Immigration Refugee Protection Officer with the Immigration and Refugee Board where he obtained experience in hundreds of immigration hearings before starting private practice. Mr. Sharma received his Master of Laws (LLM) in Administrative Law from York University Osgoode Hall Law School (2010). His major research paper in support dealt with the unwarranted deference to immigration refugee adjudication in Canada.
Mr. Sharma has practiced immigration law for over 17 years. He is the founder and managing partner of Stewart Sharma Harsanyi, one of Canada’s largest dedicated immigration law firms.
Mr. Sharma has appeared before every level of Court in Alberta; regularly appears before the Federal Court, and has appeared before the Federal Court of Appeal and every Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board; he has over 150 reported decisions and possesses extensive experience in all aspects of immigration law.
Mr. Sharma has also taught the Immigration and Refugee Law course at the University of Calgary, Faculty of Law (2018).
Mr. Sharma regularly speaks on immigration matters; he has been asked invited to appear before the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration in 2017, 2019, and 2020; in 2017 Mr. Sharma appeared before the Committee and provided his thoughts regarding the regulation of immigration consultants. His appearance in 2020 discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the immigration system. He also testified as an expert in Canadian immigration law before a US Court in Missouri in 2017.
Mr. Sharma was a speaker at the 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2019 National Immigration Law Conferences (CBA); at Legal Education Society of Alberta Conference (Immigration Fundamentals) in 2017; a centennial commemoration for the Komagata Maru; the Calgary Islamic Chamber of Commerce; the Calgary Board of Education’s International Youth Leadership Summit; the Ethno-Cultural Council of Calgary marking the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination; the Muslim Council of Calgary, and he has attended a number of immigration round table discussions, including one with former Immigration Minister Hussen. His numerous other presentations include speaking/presenting before the Alberta Crown Prosecution Services Conference (2018) and the Criminal Trial Lawyers Association as well as the Criminal Defense Lawyers Association of Calgary to discuss changes to immigration laws and the consequences of criminal convictions to foreign nationals and permanent residents.
Mr. Sharma has written numerous op-eds on immigration, diversity and multi-culturalism that have been published in the Globe and Mail and PostMedia outlets. Mr. Sharma has also been asked on numerous occasions to comment on immigration law and policy changes (CBC TV/Radio, including The National; Alberta Primetime; Global; CTV; OMNI; RedFM). Mr. Sharma has debated the late Martin Collacott of the Fraser Institute and Centre for Immigration Reform on whether Canada accepts too many immigrants; the late Deepak Obhrai (MP and Parliamentary Secretary) on additional and stricter language requirements for citizens; and David Seymour of the Manning Centre on whether Canada’s new immigration policy is too exclusionary. His academic writings include “Deference, the Universe of Discourse and the Standard of Review” published in the Alberta Law Review and a commentary on Canada’s refugee health reforms published in the C2C Journal.
Mr. Sharma has sat on numerous Boards and Committees including as a Board Member with Immigrant Services Calgary, the Legal Education Society of Alberta, and the Legal Aid Alberta Appeals Committee. He is also the recipient of the Access to Justice Award (Legal Aid Alberta) and was named one of Calgary’s Top 40 under 40 (2014).
He is currently writing a text on Canadian immigration inadmissibility.