Submitting an application to work or remain permanently in Canada can be tedious; some applicants may think it is easier to exclude information instead of having to provide additional documents or explain something on their application. In reality, omitting information or taking shortcuts can have very serious consequences of misrepresentation and result in inadmissibility and even a five-year ban from Canada.
A permanent resident or a foreign national is inadmissible for misrepresentation…for directly or indirectly misrepresenting or withholding material facts relating to a relevant matter that induces or could induce an error in the administration of this ActImmigration and Refugee Protection Act, S. 40 (1) (a)
During the processing of applications, Canada carries out a thorough background check, working with the RCMP, CBSA, foreign police services, and offices that issue identity and status documents. Immigration, Refugee, Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have many means to identify red flags on a candidate’s application.
Below are three examples of seemingly innocent application mistakes that resulted in misrepresentation charges.
Omitting information on family members
Some may believe that omitting information that could complicate their application is better than including it. That is not the case. Hiding information from an officer can have serious consequences. Being upfront and honest in an immigration application is the best practice and gives an applicant the chance to address challenging aspects of their application.
An example of this is Potdar v. Canada. This case follows a Nova Scotia nominee applicant that failed to declare that her daughter was attending school in Ontario. She may have left this out thinking that having strong ties to another province may harm her application to Nova Scotia. She may also have left it out unintentionally. Either way, the officer concluded that she had provided incomplete or inaccurate information, amounting to misrepresentation. After Nova Scotia had issued her nomination and she had submitted a permanent residence application, they subsequently revoked her nomination upon discovery of her misrepresentation, and her permanent residence application was refused. Had she been upfront about her daughter’s ties to Ontario, she could have addressed this in her application, and provided more proof of her intention to settle in Nova Scotia.
Excluding work experience
It is important for applicants to provide a full picture of their experience on all applications. Some may think that they can omit information that they do not consider important to their application. This is a grave error and can result in a misrepresentation charge.
The case of Paashazadeh v. Canada is one example of the consequences of omitting information. This follows an applicant’s request to squash the decision of her inadmissibility to Canada due to misrepresentation on her Federal Skilled Worker application. When applying for permanent residence, Paashazadeh believed that her “side job” was not significant enough to disclose. Once it became a full-time role, she felt it was not necessary to report since she had already met the requirements of the Federal Skilled Worker Class.
The officer reviewing her case requested a social security document to demonstrate her work experience. Instead, she provided alternative additional documents from her employer. The officer issued a subsequent procedural fairness letter in which they requested the same social security document once again. After the applicant provided the document, it was made clear that she had omitted her part-time work experience. As a result, her application was dismissed, and she was charged with misrepresentation.
Writing your own reference letters
Reference letters are an important aspect of economic applications, whether it is for permanent residence or a work permit. These letters can make or break an application. Many applicants struggle with uncooperative employees that are unwilling or too busy to provide a reference letter. Some applicants attempt to ease the process for their employer by writing their own letter and giving it to them to sign.
Ragada v. Canada, a recent June 2021 judicial review proved that this was not a practice that should be followed. Ragada had written her own reference letter in support of a work permit application. The officer had concerns upon finding that two of her reference letters had very similar content and formatting. The officer invited the applicant for an interview to address these concerns and asked whether the applicant had written the letters herself. She claimed to have written them herself and had carried out the duties listed on the letter. When the officer contacted the employer, they found discrepancies between the letter and what the employer claimed. The employer also stated they signed the letter written for them. As a result, the applicant’s application and judicial review were refused on the grounds of misrepresentation.
Ultimately, when submitting an application to IRCC, the best practice is to be as thorough and truthful as possible. If you are unsure of how to explain a troubling aspect of your application, you may choose to retain an immigration lawyer or immigration consultant for assistance.