Misrepresentation occurs when false or misleading information is stated or information is omitted from an application which may affect a decision, whether made directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally. Under Canadian immigration law, this is considered a very serious offence as lies and fraud affect the integrity of the entire system. You may have confused dates of past events, misread a question, or inadvertently ticked “yes” instead of “no” on a form, and unfortunately this is very often grounds for misrepresentation. Similarly, as omissions are also considered misrepresentation, if you failed to disclose information on an application that may have had an impact on the decision, you can also be found inadmissible for misrepresentation. For example, if a form asks you to list any previous refusals to visa applications, and you leave the section blank, if the officer discovers you were in fact refused in the past, you may be accused of misrepresentation. Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), it is stated that:
- A permanent resident or a foreign national is inadmissible for misrepresentation
(a) 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 this Act;
A finding of misrepresentation results in a 5-year bar to Canada. For this reason, it is very important to be attentive to detail and thorough when submitting information to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to avoid these very serious consequences. If you receive a “procedural fairness letter” during the processing of your application asking you to address a potential finding of misrepresentation, this is your only opportunity to present evidence and defend yourself and this should be handled by a professional. If you already received a decision but believe the officer made a mistake, you may be able to file an application for Leave and Judicial Review at the Federal Court, or in certain cases, file an appeal with the Immigration Appeal Division.
If there are no grounds to overturn the decision and you are subject to a 5-year bar, the only way to enter Canada is by applying for a Temporary Resident Permit, but this is only issued for very compelling reasons. We have over two decades of experience in immigration and we encourage you to contact us to learn more about your options.