According to Canada’s immigration laws a permanent resident or a foreign national is inadmissible for directly or indirectly misrepresenting or withholding material facts relating to a relevant matter that induces or could induce an error in the administration of the act.
So let us examine a recent case decided by the Immigration Appeal Division with respect to misrepresentation.
A 38‑year‑old Peruvian citizen who I will refer to as Jose came to Canada in 1995 and made an unsuccessful claim for refugee status. He was granted permanent residence status in Canada in June 2000, sponsored by his first wife, a Canadian citizen of Peruvian origin. They were divorced in May 2001.
Jose subsequently remarried more three times and sponsored his fourth and latest wife.
His third wife came to Canada as a refugee claimant. The sponsorship of his latest wife was refused on the grounds the marriage was not valid in Canada because, at the time of the marriage, he was still married to his third wife; his divorce from her was finalized seven months after his fourth marriage.
When he sponsored his fourth and latest wife, Canadian immigration authorities looked at the Jose overall situation and at the context in which he obtained permanent residence in Canada in June 2000.
Following a report on April 22, 2009, he was referred for an admissibility hearing. This report alleges Jose did not declare that he had been separated from his first wife in February 2000, about four months before obtaining his permanent residence and that this constituted misrepresentation or withholding of material facts relating to the Immigration Act.
He was found to have misrepresented himself at the time he was landed in June 2000 and an exclusion order was issued against him. As a landed immigrant she had the right of appeal which he exercised.
At a recent appeal hearing Jose testified has two children with his fourth wife who live with her in Peru, a nine‑year‑old daughter and a four‑year‑old son. The sponsorship application for this wife and that of his children was refused on the grounds Jose was not divorced from his third wife when he married his fourth wife and that this fourth marriage is invalid.
He also testified about his residence in Canada for nearly 20 years as he requested humanitarian and compassionate relief on various grounds.
The appeal member stated the Federal Court has held that the purpose of the paragraph with respect to the relevant section of IRPA is to ensure that applicants provide “complete, honest and truthful information and to deter misrepresentation” and that “full disclosure is fundamental to the proper and fair administration of the immigration scheme”.
It has also been held that the said law encompasses innocent failures to disclose material information. Moreover, “a misrepresentation need not be decisive or determinative to be material; it must only be important enough to affect the process,” the member ruled.
The Federal Court has also noted that misrepresentations may be fraudulent, negligent or innocent.
In this case, the panel is of the opinion the misrepresentations by Jose are fraudulent, primarily because the evidence establishes, on a balance of probabilities, that he knew when he met the immigration officer and became a permanent resident on June 20, 2000, that his wife was having a relationship with another man, that their marriage was not going to last, that his first wife had gone with him to this interview because she knew how important it was to him to become a permanent resident and because she wanted to do one last thing to help him.
These misrepresentations continued until the end of the IAD hearing because he did not admit to making a misrepresentation. The panel was of the opinion that Jose’s misrepresentations were made deliberately and are very serious. Obtaining permanent residence on the basis of misrepresentations undermines the integrity of the immigration system.
Given the seriousness of the misrepresentations, a high threshold of humanitarian and compassionate considerations is required for special relief to be granted.
The panel ruled the hardships Jose would face in the event of removal are not disproportionate, that they are the normal consequences of removal. Jose life and his security are not at risk in Peru and the appeal was dismissed.
So dear readers, you can be removed from Canada if you gave false information on your application, irrespective of the years passed.
Sukhram Ramkissoon is a member of ICCRC and specializes in immigration matters at 3089 Bathurst St., Suite 219A, Toronto. Phone 416-789-5756.