Misrepresentation on Steroids

By Author: Admin | December 2, 2014

As is often the habit of the current government, the announcement about harsher penalties for misrepresentation were published around 4 PM on  Friday, 21/11/2014, at a time when people are least attentive about such serious matters.

Previously, when an officer made a finding that a person committed a material misrepresentation, they were banned from Canada for two years.  Under the recent announcement, the ban would increase to five years.

The announcement regarding misrepresentation was in my view wrongly juxtaposed with an additional but separate issue, relating to banning family members of people who are inadmissible on grandiose grounds such as national security, human rights, or serious criminality.  This is of  an entirely different magnitude when compared to  misrepresentation which can trigger the ban for innocuous things such as failing to input one’s address history properly, or being accused by CIC of hiding a common law relationship, or forgetting to mention a previous rejected visa from 10 years ago.

The announcement does indeed fit the triumphant heading, “Putting the Safety and Security of Canadians First” when dealing with criminals and human rights violators.   On the other hand, increasing the ban for misrepresentation to five years from two will have extensive, harsh consequences to ordinary and vulnerable people such as the separation of minor children from parents, and the deportation of productive permanent residents from Canada – the type who have worked and have never taken social assistance, who may have academically bright children attending a Canadian school.  People to be affected by the ban clearly aren’t in the more odious category of villains cited in the announcement of the Minister.

The announcement stated further, “This change will help deter fraudulent applications and sends a strong message to those who would abuse our system that giving false or misleading information has serious consequences.”The immigration department actively encourages people to ‘self file” visa applications.  In the face of increasingly complex immigration system, it will be self-filing applicants acting in good faith, who will be caught by this lengthy ban.  In other words, there is absolutely no proof that the message of abuse to the system by giving false information will be heeded.

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