Never Misrepresent Yourself or Your Situation

2007-03-12

Many (most?) people applying to immigrate to Canada do not understand the seriousness of even an innocent misrepresentation. I’ve had clients who’ve asked me if they should conceal a fact for fear of being denied entry. I always advise them to be completely truthful and we deal with any difficult or awkward facts separately. Make no mistake — a misrepresentation can prevent you from ever coming to Canada. This rule is particularly harsh to those who already have family living in Canada — they may never be able to join their loved ones in this country.

Here is a summary from King, a recent Immigration Appeal Division case (November 2007) that illustrates how tough the misrepresentation rule can be. The applicant lost on this appeal:

In his application for permanent residence, the person concerned (who was sponsored by his father) stated that he had never married. He married several weeks before being landed, and did not disclose that fact. The Minister alleged that the person concerned was inadmissible for misrepresentation. The person concerned claimed that the immigration officer at the port of entry asked him no questions and that, although he signed his Record of Landing, which reported his marital status as never married, he did not understand the significance of doing so. The Immigration Division found that the person concerned had a duty to disclose his marital status to the immigration officer at the port of entry, whether or not the officer asked him a direct question about it. The marital status of the person concerned was significantly material, as the failure to disclose that status may have had the effect of foreclosing or averting further inquiries by the immigration officer in order to determine if he was still admissible as a dependant. He owed a positive duty of candour with respect to it. The withholding of the information about his marital status at the port of entry, even though it may have been done innocently and without intention to mislead, induced an error in the administration of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The person concerned was inadmissible for misrepresentation.

About the author

Gianpaolo Panusa Gianpaolo Panusa is a Canadian immigration lawyer, writer, and founder of the PanCanadian Immigration Law Group based in Vancouver, Canada. Google+ Profile

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