The Importance of Being Earnest.
Yes, it is a well-known play by Oscar Wilde. However, it is also the name of this rant about why it is PARAMOUNT that applicants be honest in their applications to IRCC and CBSA.
Acting in good faith is a cornerstone of Canadian law in general, but it is one of the absolute most important principles in Canadian immigration law.
IRCC and CBSA know what’s going on – They will catch you
Back in the old days of paper applications, Canadian Embassy interviews, and dinosaurs, it was still wrong but not nearly as difficult to get away with lying to Immigration. After all, how would they know if you actually have a secret, undeclared passport or a secret, undeclared wife and spent a bunch of time outside Canada with both of them that no one knows about?
But today, thanks to very robust computerized records and very detailed data sharing with other countries, Immigration is much, much closer to knowing all of your secrets.
The Canadian government has extensive record sharing with not only the United States, but also commonwealth countries inside and outside Europe, EU member states, as well as African Union and Asian countries. They already know a lot about you, including your entries and exits from Canada, if you have ever had a visa application to another country refused, the names of your family members, and your work history.
Immigration officers have access to Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn too – nothing you say online is secret. They already know, and they are just waiting to catch you should you decide not to be honest.
Misrepresentation = 5 year bar from Canada
If the government catches you lying, they are more than happy to keep you from coming back to Canada and refuse any future immigration applications.
No matter whether you are a permanent resident, temporary resident, or have no status in Canada, misrepresentation makes you inadmissible. This means that if you are inside Canada, you will be forced to leave. If you are a temporary resident or have no status in Canada, this means that you will be barred from becoming a permanent resident for 5 years.
Don’t worry that if you make a simple error or typo on your application that you will be determined to have misrepresented – this isn’t how it works. Misrepresentation is defined in the law as “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 Act.” If you have not gained any advantage by what you said in your application, then it is a simple error and not misrepresentation.
As you can see, the penalties for lying to the government are severe and you should avoid it at all costs. If you have done something you were not supposed to, like working without authorization or overstaying as a visitor, you should be honest about what has happened to demonstrate good faith, and allow the officer to make a decision on your application fairly. Your application may be refused or you may have to leave Canada, but at least you have not ruined your credibility and destroyed any chance for a future in Canada at a later date.
Loss of PR or Canadian Citizenship
No matter who tells you that you should lie, whether it’s your family member, friend, or someone who claims to have experience in the Canadian immigration field, they are absolutely WRONG and you should never lie to Immigration. Even if someone has gotten away with lying previously, they will be found out sooner or later.
This leads to application refusals, revocation of PR, and misrepresentation is the only reason that Canadian citizenship can be revoked – that’s right: Even if you are a Canadian citizen, your citizenship can be taken away and you can be deported from Canada if you were found to have misrepresented in the process of becoming a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.
Applying for a visitor visa to visit a “friend” in Canada who is actually your boyfriend or girlfriend
This is one of the most frequent reasons that visitor visa applications get refused. Everyone knows that almost no one is getting on a plane to see someone who is not their family member if they are not romantically involved. Officers refuse applications like this by saying that they do not believe in the “purpose of your visit,” so they don’t think you will leave Canada.
This issue can also hurt you again very quickly after your visitor visa gets refused, because now your Canadian partner has no choice but to sponsor you for PR in Canada. Even a “friend” who is married to a Canadian citizen or permanent resident is not a member of the family class and cannot be sponsored to Canada. So because you lied about the nature of your relationship and said that you were friends instead of romantic partners, now your sponsorship application is in danger of being refused as well.
Lying about a refusal of an immigration application to a country other than Canada
This is one of the worst mistakes an applicant can make. IRCC and CBSA have access to information regarding immigration applications all over the world. They will know if you have applied to study, work, visit, or move permanently to another country. What’s more, there is no reason to lie about having a previous refusal. Just because you have been refused in another country, you are not necessarily going to be refused in Canada especially if your circumstances since the last application have changed.
Not declaring family members on an immigration application
This mistake is not as common as it used to be, but it still happens and causes tragic results. If you do not declare a family member on your initial immigration application and they need a medical exam, they will become an excluded family member if the medical exam does not take place. This means that no matter what happens, they cannot be sponsored to Canada in the future as your family member.
Making a refugee claim when you are NOT a refugee
This mistake should speak for itself, but for some reason, people keep doing it. There are many, many sad stories about individuals and families who received terrible immigration advice, frequently from people who obviously knew better, and who made a refugee claim in a desperate attempt to stay in Canada.
The Immigration and Refugee Board members who make decisions on refugee cases are deeply familiar with the country conditions that form the basis of refugee claims. They know when a refugee claim is baseless. Once a refugee claim has been refused, then the removal order against the applicant comes into force and they are deported from Canada. Further, they can never return to Canada for any reason without also applying for an Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC).