What to do if relatives were not mentioned in application?

Candidates for Canadian permanent residence have to declare all of their current family members on their application — even if these family members will not be moving to Canada with the applicant. These include:

  • the applicant’s spouse or common-law partner;
  • dependent children;
  • children of dependent children.

Throughout the review of your application by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), these declared family members will undergo various security checks in order to make sure that their history does not make the applicant ineligible or inadmissible. Family members and dependents that were undisclosed and unexamined for admissibility during the processing of the sponsor’s own immigration application are not considered members of the “Family Class.”

Failing to declare a family member leads to a lifetime bar on being able to sponsor them for immigration purposes. As previously explained by the IRCC, these regulations were implemented in order to encourage transparency and to “enhance the overall integrity of Candian Family Class immigration.”

How to Overcome Misrepresentation Inadmissibility?

But what happens if you do fail to declare a family member when immigrating to Canada, be it due to a lack of awareness or lack of knowledge of their whereabouts or existence? By law, this makes them ineligible from being sponsored to immigrate to Canada for life.

Furthermore, if the applicant commences a sponsorship of that family member, they will be open to the possibility of future enforcement proceedings against them. The IRCC usually refers such matters to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) for investigation. This, in turn, could lead to severe consequences for the applicant-sponsor, including a removal order for unlawful activity.

In order to counteract these extreme repercussions, the Minister of the IRCC introduced a temporary pilot program under which certain individuals — including individuals who had been sponsored themselves — will be able to support previously undeclared relatives.

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Pilot Project for Sponsoring Undeclared Family Members

Many officials have expressed concerns regarding the excessive negative impact that the lifetime sponsorship ban has on immigrant families and individuals. The two-year initiative was introduced in 2019, to counteract these effects via a public policy. The policy will only affect three categories of sponsors:

  • individuals that were awarded permanent residence status after having themselves been sponsored by a family member;
  • individuals that were awarded permanent residence status as a Convention refugee;
  • individuals that were awarded permanent residence status after having been determined to be a protected person.

The foreign citizen being sponsored must prove that they (if having been properly declared and considered in the sponsor’s original immigrated application) would not have made their sponsor ineligible to enter or move to the country.

The policy affects all applications received by the IRCC or pending reconsideration between May 31, 2019, and September 9, 2021.

Appealing Misrepresentation Inadmissibility in Court

Deliberately lying or attaching false documents to your application is obviously wrong and punishable by the immigration authorities. Knowingly withholding certain vital faces can also be considered misrepresentation.

But what about innocent misrepresentations? What if the information that the applicant believes to be entirely accurate turns out to be incorrect or incomplete? Given the current timeframes, complex requirements, and the current state of law, applicants can easily make innocent misrepresentations with the full intent of being honest and factual.

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Innocent misrepresentations include providing inaccurate information and cases where an individual fails to disclose relevant and material information they were not aware they need to disclose because they were not asked about it. If an applicant can prove that they honestly and reasonably thought that they were not withholding relevant information, the IRCC’s decision can be successfully appealed in court. The 1990 case of Medel v. Canada and the 2011 case Osisanwo v. Canada stand to prove that point.



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