Canadian Immigration Forms: Out to Get You?

By Author: Admin | December 19, 2009

Are the immigration forms in support of an immigration application to immigrate to Canada designed to ‘get you’?  Perhaps – if ‘you’ includes someone who has a criminal record, or a criminal charge, or has failed to declare a relative.  The ultimate goal of Canadian immigration forms is to make the job of a Canadian immigration officer easier, given the competing goals of getting the proper people to immigrate to Canada (not just any people).

The work load of Canadian immigration officers and Canada’s visa officers is apparently high.  Canadian immigration forms were designed so Canadian immigration officers can conduct an assessment of persons seeking Canadian immigration in an efficient way.  This means that there are often as many as a dozen forms for a single application for Canadian immigration.  Consequently the forms for Canadian immigration often pose the same questions more than once.

A cynic would assert that the repeated asking of the same question on Canadian immigration forms has nothing to do with helping Canada’s visa officers or Canadian immigration officers process cases more efficiently.  Those with a cynical bent would assert that the maze of many different forms that support an application for immigration to Canada is intentionally confusing so as to try to trick a person into being inconsistent.  I’m of the view that the forms for Canadian immigration are not a trap, but can turn into one if you don’t do them properly.

Canada’s immigration law does not provide much detail about how to complete the forms.  Section 10 of the Regulations for Canada immigration is quoted below:

10. (1) Subject to paragraphs 28 (b) to (d), an application under these Regulations shall

(a) be made in writing using the form provided by the Department, if any;

(b) be signed by the applicant;

(c) include all information and documents required by these Regulations, as well as any other evidence required by the Act;

(d) be accompanied by evidence of payment of the applicable fee, if any, set out in these Regulations; and

(e) if there is an accompanying spouse or common-law partner,identify who is the principal applicant and who is the accompanying spouse or common-law partner.

It is not uncommon for applicants for Canadian immigration to fail to declare a close relative like a child or a previous common-law partner.  This failure to declare a relative when applying for immigration to Canada comes back to haunt the person when they try to sponsor that undeclared child, or undeclared partner.   It is impossible for an undeclared relative  to be sponsored, but there are other ways for them to legally immigrate.

It is invariably the case that a refugee claimant in Canada signs a conditional removal order when starting the refugee process.  When coming across refugee claimants whose claims were refused a year or two prior, I have yet to find a single refugee claimant remembering  signing the conditional removal order (part of a bunch of other forms filed when starting a refugee claim) which started their refugee process.  In other words, most refugees don’t know that they are given a deportation order at the start of their refugee process.

I’ve seen a very dramatic omission in an application for Canadian citizenship;  the person did not declare a conviction on his Canadian citizenship application.  This led to the process to remove his Canadian citizenship.

If you’re unclear about how to respond to a question on a Canadian immigration form, you may wish to hire someone whose job is to interpret and/or present the Canadian immigration forms to Canadian immigration officers or Canadian Courts.


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I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario Canada. I am an accomplished author and lecturer and am consulted by the media and other immigration lawyers and consultants on immigration matters and challenging immigration cases, appeals, and federal court matters.

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