By Sukhram Ramkissoon
Canadian immigration law stipulates that a permanent resident may become a Canadian citizen after complying with all the requirements under the Citizenship Act.
However, the law also states that whenever a citizen obtains Canadian citizenship by any of the following circumstances, such as: misrepresentation, fraud, by knowingly concealing material circumstances, or failing to disclose any criminal conviction, residence, past visa applications, deportation, studies, does not include any absences from Canada, etc., and these facts were not included in their application for permanent residence, their Canadian citizenship may be revoked.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) relies on the honesty and truthfulness of all applicants for Permanent Residence and other applications under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and its Regulations(IRPA/R).
The Federal Court has consistently ruled that IRPA, and the Canadian immigration regime are founded on the principle that whoever comes to Canada with the intention of settling must do so in good faith, come with clean hands and comply to the letter with the requirements both in form and substance.
The Citizenship Act states that the Minister may revoke a person’s citizenship or renunciation of citizenship if the Minister is satisfied on a balance of probabilities that the person has obtained, retained, renounced, or resumed his or her citizenship by false representation or fraud or by knowingly concealing material circumstances.
Let us look at a recent case in which Mr. R, a citizen of Fiji, did not disclose his criminal convictions that occurred in his home country, also his convictions and studies in Australia, when he applied for permanent residence in Canada.
Mr. R. travelled to Canada from Australia in 1990 and then returned to Fiji in 1991. He met his wife whom he married in 1994. He was extradited to Australia to face criminal charges and was found guilty and sentenced for sexual assault, and received two years imprisonment and nine months, which expired in 1997. He was removed to Fiji in 1997 and in 1999 he applied for a temporary resident visa to Canada. He declared in his visitor’s visa application that he never committed a criminal offence in any country. He also attested that he never lived in any other country.
Mr. R. subsequently applied for permanent residence under the assisted relative class, but failed to disclose his criminal convictions or that he was ordered to leave Australia. He also omitted that he had attended university in Australia and had resided there from 1987 to 1990 and from 1994 to 1997 he served his prison time.
To support his application for permanent residence, Mr. R. provided the birth certificates for his six children, adoption orders for two children, birth certificates for himself and wife, as well as their marriage certificate and divorce orders for each of their previous marital relationships. In October 2000, Mr. R. attended an interview in Australia. At that time, he disclosed his Fijian convictions, but did not disclose his conviction in Australia for non-consensual sexual intercourse. Nor did he disclose that he previously resided in Australia.
The immigration officer determined at the end of the interview that the Fijian convictions did not affect Mr. R’s admissibility because he was a juvenile at the time of the first offence and in his second offence there was no Canadian equivalent. The application for permanent residence was approved in November 2001 and Mr. R. together with his wife and eight children landed in Canada as permanent residents.
Mr. R. applied for Canadian citizenship, and it was approved in November 2005, at which point he took the oath of citizenship and became a Canadian citizen. Mr. R., his wife and their eight children all became Canadian citizens that same day.
In July 2007, the Canada Border Services Agency received information from the Australian government and Interpol, disclosing Mr. R’s Australian conviction and his record of movement. This information was forwarded to IRCC. In October 2015, the IRCC issued Mr. R. a Notice of Intent to Revoke Citizenship on the grounds of misrepresentation and his citizenship was cancelled on June 19, 2017.
As you will see, any lie on any application made to IRCC may lead to misrepresentation and the eventual loss of status as a permanent resident or Canadian citizen.
Always tell the truth, because you must be truthful on these applications and also, this information is always verifiable through various resources.
SUKHRAM RAMKISSOON is member of the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants and specialises in Immigration Matters at No. 3089 Bathurst Street, Suite 219A. Phone 416 789 5756.