When applying for residency or any type of visa to Canada, it is essential to prioritize honesty. Presenting false or incorrect information relevant to your application is considered misrepresentation, which can lead to a determination of inadmissibility. The consequences of being found inadmissible due to misrepresentation can have serious implications for both you and your family’s ability to return to Canada in the future.
WHAT CONSTITUTES MISREPRESENTATION?
Misrepresentation occurs when a permanent resident or foreign national provides inconsistent, inaccurate, or incomplete information to immigration authorities. Any facts that are misrepresented or withheld, and are pertinent to your application to Canada, are considered as misrepresentation. It is important to note that even if the misrepresentation is committed by someone else, such as a family member or representative, the responsibility lies with the visa applicant. This responsibility remains even if the applicant is unaware of the misrepresentation. Furthermore, if an applicant is a dependent on the application of someone who has been found inadmissible due to misrepresentation, they too will be considered inadmissible.
Examples of misrepresentation include:
- Failing to disclose a visa refusal from another country.
- Neglecting to mention a family member.
- Providing false information about your work history in an attempt to secure employment in Canada.
- Submitting forged or altered documents containing inaccurate information.
- Failing to disclose past criminal charges or convictions, regardless of their timing.
CONSEQUENCES OF MISREPRESENTATION
If there are concerns regarding misrepresentation in your immigration application, you will typically receive a Procedural Fairness Letter (PFL) to notify you of the issue. However, receiving a PFL does not automatically mean that your entry into Canada has been denied. You still have an opportunity to present your case and clarify any errors or omissions in your application. The PFL will provide a specific timeframe within which you must respond in writing or, in some cases, attend an interview to explain the situation to an immigration officer. If requested, you must provide a detailed response with supporting documents within the given deadline. It is crucial to respond effectively during this stage, as it is your only chance to do so before being deemed guilty of misrepresentation.
After reviewing your response, immigration authorities will determine whether misrepresentation has occurred. If you are found guilty of misrepresentation, you will be considered inadmissible to Canada for five years. This inadmissibility also extends to your family members, including your spouse and children, who will be barred from obtaining temporary or permanent resident visas during this period.
UNDECLARED US VISA REFUSALS AND MISREPRESENTATION
A common basis for a finding of misrepresentation is when applicants fail to disclose previous visa refusals from the United States on their Canadian visa application forms. The application forms typically include a question asking whether the applicant has ever been refused a visa to Canada or any other country.
Applicants often omit mentioning US visa refusals when answering this question due to misunderstandings, considering them irrelevant, or assuming that Canadian immigration authorities won’t have access to that information. However, Canada and the United States share immigration computer systems, enabling Canadian authorities to easily verify an applicant’s US immigration history, including visa refusals. If undisclosed refusals are discovered, the authorities will usually issue a fairness letter alleging misrepresentation and providing a 30-day period for response.
Defending against these allegations becomes challenging if there were indeed omitted US visa refusals. Admitting to the omission will likely lead to a finding of misrepresentation, while a denial alone is unlikely to be sufficient unless the applicant can provide evidence disproving the allegations.