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Inadmissibility for misrepresentation in Canadian immigration law

By October 12, 2023October 16th, 2023Canadian Immigration

“Misrepresentation” in Canadian immigration law is interpreted quite broadly and can place many well-intending applicants in jeopardy if insufficient care is taken in what they disclose in their visa applications.  This post focuses on a particularly risky fact pattern – where an applicant first applies for a visitor visa, but is negotiating or even having accepted a job offer with intentions to apply for a work permit in the near future.

In a case called Singh v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2021 FC 959, the federal court affirmed a finding of inadmissibility to a foreign national who applied for a work permit at the Rainbow Bridge Port of Entry. The applicant had originally entered Canada on a visitor visa and applied for an extension of the visitor status, while having applied for and accepted a job offer and a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application was already submitted on his behalf.

The issue was how the applicant described his primary purpose when he requested an extension of stay as a visitor while the LMIA process was already ongoing. The applicant stated his primary purpose for wishing to extend status was to spend more time with his family, but did not disclose his other, arguably the actual primary purpose, which was to explore the job opportunity with an eye to eventually changing his status to a worker.

Misrepresentation, which is a basis to find an individual inadmissible to Canada, is described 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 [the immigration laws].” IRPA Section 40(1)(a). Here, the court found that the ongoing LMIA application and his acceptance of a job offer were material facts that should have been disclosed when he submitted his visitor extension application. Having not done so amounted to misrepresentation – as a result, the applicant faced a 5-year ban from entering Canada under any status.

The lesson from this case is that withholding material facts from any visa application puts an applicant at risk of not only denial but a 5-year bar if it triggers a finding of inadmissibility, especially in the context where a visitor attempts to apply for a work permit. Full disclosure may sometimes result in the denial of visitor status extension applications if the officer is not satisfied the applicant intends to leave Canada after the expiry of their stay, but this may be a less costly “step back” compared to the more serious consequences faced when non-disclosure results in approval of the visitor extension but triggers an ultimate finding of misrepresentation down the road.

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