Always tell the truth

I recently received a letter from a regular reader of my column who wanted advice on

a matter of serious concern. I  have since informed her that because of the seriousness of the issue which she raised in her letter and for the benefit of other readers, I would like  to discuss the matter in my column.

Here is her letter:

Dear Mr. Ram:

 I am a native of the one of the islands of the Caribbean and was sponsored to Canada by my Canadian husband.  Before my  marriage, I had a child from a different relationship. At the time of my marriage, the child was  four years of age.

 In 2014. when I was filling out an application for permanent resident status, I was advised by my husband and others that I should not mention the child on the form.

 My sponsor told me that if I included the child in my application,  it would delay the process and that in fact it would be easier for the child  to join me in  Canada after I obtained permanent resident status.

 I  was further advised that I should say that I  had no children  or dependents, when asked at the airport by an immigration official.

 Of course, I  was not fully aware of the Canadian immigration laws. So I followed the instructions  of  my sponsor and others.

  Well,  three  years  ago, I obtained  my permanent resident status and now I desperately want  my son to join me her in Canada, since there is no responsible person to look after him at  the present time. I have also been told that there are growing concerns about his behavioral problems.

Some of my friends have told me  that I could, in fact, sponsor him. Others are saying that it would be difficult and that I should seek some professional advice.

Mr. Ram, please tell me what I should do?

Yours  truly,

 Claire (not her real name)


Dear Claire:

Thank  you for your letter.

The first step in the right direction is seeking professional advice, especially from an experienced and regulated authorized representative.

I have previously touched on this issue in my column but in the interest  of greater clarity, I will attempt to explain the law as it applies in your predicament.  This should not be taken as legal advice since the situation  that you have described is very general and it does not provide the specifics of the case.  If anyone is in a similar situation, ensure you consult and obtain advice from an experienced and regulated counsel.

From the information provided, it is quite clear that this is indeed a very serious matter that may lead to a person’s removal  from Canada because it amounts to misrepresentation.

One of the application forms for permanent residence, which is now known as the Generic Application Form for Canada IMM 0008, indicates on page three where all dependents must be listed. The form directs the applicant to provide details of their family members, whether they will accompany the applicant to Canada or not.  Family members include spouse and all dependent children who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents already.

It is clear that if an applicant does not mention his/her child,  as in your case, that person has misrepresented himself/herself.   You should have included your son on your application form and in other relevant application forms where it is requested, so this dependent family member could be examined and thus sponsored at a later date.  If you had not heeded your husband’s advice, you would not be in this present situation.

For your son to join here in Canada, you will now have to make  a sponsorship application, with a request to seek Humanitarian and Compassionate (H & C) relief. This option does not guarantee the dependent coming to Canada, but it is the only option to apply for permanent residence for a dependent whom does not qualify in any other manner.

If the sponsors are permanent residents while making an application for their dependents, they may be found to have misrepresented themselves and thus the pending sponsorship application will be suspended.  If this is the case the sponsors will be referred to an admissibility hearing which will determine if they are inadmissible to Canada and an Exclusion Order may be issued against them.

However, as a permanent resident, a person has the right of appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division. Such an appeal may take about two years to finalize. At the appeal hearing, the person will have to prove sufficient H & C grounds to be successful.

Circumstances such as yours  are not uncommon and some persons in your situation are removed from Canada as the immigration authorities consider this breach very serious in nature. It brings disrepute to the integrity of the whole immigration system.

As I have  often stated to my clients, always tell the truth in all of your dealings with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

SUKHRAM RAMKISSOON   is a member of ICCRC and specializes in immigration matters at No. 3089 Bathurst Street, Suite 219A, Toronto, Ontario. M6A 2A4.