Avoid misrepresentations in your Canadian immigration application

One of the biggest mistakes an immigration applicant can make is misrepresentation. The term, which is largely self-explanatory, refers to when an applicant submits false information or documents to Canada Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) as part of your immigration application.

Among other considerations, two of the most important things to remember about misrepresentation are that:

  • It can happen even if applicants make an innocent mistake (more on this later) in the details of their application or when submitting relevant documents to IRCC; and
  • It is considered a form of fraudand therefore a serious crime that can be prosecuted as such.

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How can a misrepresentation occur on my immigration application?

Misrepresentation usually arises when people make mistakes in the details of their application forms or submit documents with incorrect, unauthorized or falsified details to support their application. Withholding relevant information from IRCC in an immigration application can also be considered misrepresentation.

Therefore, any errors, missing (relevant) information or inaccuracies in any of the following documents could constitute a misrepresentation to IRCC:

  • Your application document (usually a form beginning with the identification code “IMM”);
  • Your passport(s) and other identification documents;
  • Your visas or electronic travel authorizations (ETA);
  • Your diplomas, titles, educational credential evaluations (ECA), and acceptance slips or graduation documents, or other papers used for the same purpose;
  • Your proof of employment documents, such as job offer letters, apprenticeship or business documents or other documents used for the same purpose;
  • Any relevant certificate of birth, marriage, final divorce, annulment, separation or death;
  • Certificates and/or police authorizations; and
  • Any other documents used to support your applications for permanent or temporary residence (including work, study or visit visas).

Additionally, any misrepresentation that occurred upon receipt of supporting documents (for example, lying about employment history to receive a job offer in Canada) may also be considered misrepresentation.

How can I avoid misrepresentations on my immigration application?

Perhaps the easiest way to avoid misrepresentations is to carefully check all the details and documents you are using to support your application. Anything submitted to IRCC as part of your application can potentially leave you liable, so it is advisable to double or triple check all information.

Due to the relative complexity of immigration applications and the large number and diversity of documents and information required, many applicants choose to hire an immigration attorney to best protect themselves and ensure that their application has the best chance of being approved.

What are the possible consequences of being found guilty of misrepresentation?

As mentioned, misrepresentation is considered a type of fraud. As such, if you are found guilty of misrepresentation, your immigration application will be rejected.

Additionally, depending on the severity of the misrepresentation and the specifics of each case, potential consequences may include:

  • Be banned from entering Canada for at least 5 years;
  • Receive a permanent fraud record with IRCC;
  • Removal of your permanent resident or Canadian citizen status;
  • Any sponsor in your immigration application will also be found guilty of misrepresentation;
  • Being charged with a crime by the IRCC; I
  • Expulsion from Canada.

What can I do if I am at risk or found guilty of committing misrepresentation?

While misrepresentation can have serious consequences for applicants, there are potential prevention measures and remedies that applicants can explore.

Procedural Fairness Letter

Occasionally, before an officer makes a final decision on whether an applicant is guilty of misrepresentation, he or she will send the applicant a Procedural Fairness Letter (PFL). These are emails or electronically sent letters that immigration officials send to allow applicants to explain concerns officials have about immigration application documents or details.

While this can be frustrating, it is also an opportunity to clarify any errors or miscommunications on the part of the applicant. Immigration applicants should write a clear and complete letter in response, doing everything possible to clarify any inaccuracies, errors or omissions in their application. Many applicants choose to hire an immigration attorney at this stage, as they can help draft the best letter possible to avoid accusations of misrepresentation.

Judicial review

If you have already been found guilty of misrepresentation and believe the claim is unreasonable, you can also appeal this decision to the Federal Court, through a process known as a Judicial Review. While applicants can represent themselves here, most choose to hire an immigration attorney at this stage of the journey as well. Please note that the Federal Court cannot replace an immigration decision with its own, nor can it reconsider the facts of the case. The court can only determine whether the allegation of misrepresentation was reasonably justified or not. If the claim is found to be unreasonable, the Federal Court can set it aside and therefore make you eligible for Canadian immigration once again.

While the consequences of a misrepresentation can be serious, IRCC’s own policies, specifically section ENF02 s. 9.3 of the IRCC Compliance Manual—recognizes that “It should be recognized that honest errors and misunderstandings sometimes occur in completing application forms and answering questions…reasonableness and fairness should be applied in evaluating these situations.” Therefore, a popular defense for applicants in the Judicial Review process is the “innocent mistake” defense. This occurs when an applicant accused of misrepresentation attempts to explain away inaccuracies in her application as an innocent mistake. While this appeal can sometimes be successful, it is not always successful. The “innocent mistake” defense places the burden of reasonably proving that any misrepresentation in your application was the product of innocent mistake on your (the applicant’s) part; Applicants must satisfactorily explain why this is the case to the Federal Court.

He Cohen Immigration Law Firm has more than 45 years of experience helping clients obtain approval of their immigration applications, with more than 60 lawyers, paralegals and other legal professionals responsible for the complete preparation for permanent residence and work permit applications temporary.

Find out if you are eligible for Canadian immigration

reference: www.cicnews.com

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