Read What You’re Signing

By James Metcalfe | March 13, 2013

James Metcalfe – Director of Immigration: Sometimes Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) gets it right, but it takes a long time.

When a person is issued a Permanent Resident Visa, they are issued a Confirmation of Permanent Residence in Canada. This is presented at the port of entry to Canada upon arrival. The holder is asked to confirm that everything on the form is correct, and then to sign the form.

Up until recently, the coding on the form was not explained, and in most cases people were not asked if there was a change in their civil status. An example of such a question would be, “The code indicates that you are not married. Is there any change in your marital status?” If the person says there is no change, then they can be granted status. On the other hand, if there is a change in marital status, then the visa may be declared invalid.

If the person withheld information – whether on purpose or not – and landed as an unmarried person, they were caught in regulatory trap. If the person was in fact married at the time of being granted status, and subsequently attempted to sponsor his or her spouse, the sponsorship would be refused under Paragraph 117(9)(d) of the immigration regulations. Further, the person could be reported under the Act for misrepresentation, which in turn could lead to deportation from Canada.

It took almost 10 years for CIC to figure out they had a problem. Now the new plain paper form clearly asks the applicant upon arrival a) if they have a criminal record b) what their civil status is and c) whether they have any dependents other than those listed on the form.

In effect, there are no more excuses for persons who blindly sign the form.

What’s the point? In the past three days we have had inquiries from 2 persons who have been affected by Regulation 117(9)(d). We could not assist either caller.