IRCC leaves no doubt: “It’s a serious crime to lie, or to send false information or documents to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada”. If you’re applying for visiting, studying, working, temporary or permanent stay in Canada, you have to avoid misrepresentation at all costs. But what is it actually? Can you commit misrepresentation unknowingly? And what are the consequences? Let’s answer these questions today.
Every time you want to come to this amazing country, you’re asked some questions, and you have to provide some documents. The list of these questions and documents varies and depends on the purpose and conditions of your application.
For instance, if you apply for an eTA and you’re planning on coming here short-term (to visit your family or go sightseeing), you’ll have to answer just a few simple questions (e.g., “Have you ever applied for or obtained a visa, an eTA or a permit to visit, live, work or study in Canada?”).
Things get complicated when you’re applying for a permanent or temporary residence. In such a situation, you’ll have to provide a whole list of documents and proofs, sign a lot of forms and be ready to answer additional questions the immigration officer might have.
No matter what you apply for and what your reason for coming to Canada is, you have to stick to one golden rule – never lie; never provide false documents; never give incorrect or misleading information. All of that is considered fraud in Canada, a misrepresentation – a serious offence.
The issue of misrepresentation is covered in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, section 40. You can read it in full here.
What constitutes fraud in the immigration law?
- Passports and other travel documents
- Diplomas, degrees and other educational documents
- Certificates (e.g., birth, marriage, divorce, death, etc.)
Secondly, misrepresentation happens always when you lie or withhold relevant facts on your immigration application, in an interview with an immigration officer, or during the renewal/extension process.
CAN YOU COMMIT MISREPRESENTATION UNKNOWINGLY?
Still, Mohammad was found inadmissible for misrepresentation. He learned how dangerous misrepresentation was the hard way.
If you want to know more, read this paper published by the Canadian Bar Association: Innocent Misrepresentations. CBA IMM CLE, Montreal, May 2013.
Why do we talk about that? Our experience shows that misrepresentation can happen even in a quite embarrassing way. For example, when you have to answer the question, “Have you ever been refused a visa to Canada or any other country?” You say “no”, and then it turns out that you haven’t received a visa to the US in the past. Such a mistake is more common than you might think! And there are some severe consequences even for such a seemingly harmless misstatement.
What are the consequences of misrepresentation?
- An entry ban for at least five years
- Issuing a permanent record of fraud
- Taking away your status as a permanent resident or Canadian citizen
- Crime charges
- Removing from Canada
How can you make sure not to commit misrepresentation?
Secondly, make sure you are well acquainted with the requirements and conditions of your application or status. In the aforementioned Mohammed v. Canada case, there was a clear requirement to inform about changes in marital/family status. If the defendant had been aware of it, there would have been no problem at all.
If you want to avoid any misrepresentation-related problems, always be upfront and honest about your application, your status, your experience, education and other relevant elements and facts. That’s the best and, in fact, the only way to come and live in Canada legally.