In immigration applications for permanent residency, applicants are required to give a time line of their work history and must also provide supporting documents that show where they worked, when they worked, and the type of work they did.
Just because a person fills out a form and puts in supporting letters does not mean that everything submitted will be believed. When reviewing an immigration file, immigration officers sometimes do investigations beyond what is in the application package. In some cases, these investigations are done without the applicant’s knowledge.
What sort of investigations do immigration officers do?
In September, the Federal Court of Canada handed down a decision in the case of Mr. Kahin. In this case, Mr. Kahin challenged a refusal of his permanent residency visa because the immigration officer did not give him a chance to respond to concerns the immigration officer had from her independent investigation.
In this case, the immigration officer asked Mr. Kahin for additional details regarding his work history. In response, Mr. Kahin indicated that one of his employers refused his request for a reference letter and that he was unable to find two of his other employers.
The immigration officer then took it upon herself to investigate Mr. Kahin’s employment history. She contacted the office manager of one of his employers and then did an internet search for the other employer. She then called the other employer which was not located in the area where Mr. Kahin said he worked.
The immigration officer found that the first employer had no employment record of Mr. Kahin’s employment. In addition, this employer required all of their employees to have a certain license. The immigration officer then called the government agency responsible for licensing and found that Mr. Kahin was not licensed to work in that occupation for the time he said he worked at the company.
After speaking to the second employer, that employer confirmed to the immigration officer that it never operated in the area Mr. Kahin said he was employed.
In this case, the immigration officer did not disclose either piece of information to Mr. Kahin or his representative before she refused his application.
What happened in this case?
In this case, the judge stated that the immigration officer had to advise Mr. Kahin of her findings and give him a right to respond. Because he did not get this opportunity, the judge overturned the decision of the officer and sent it back for another officer to determine.
What should applicants do when answering questions about their work history?
While Mr. Kahin was successful in this case, one of the things that should be noted is that immigration officers do in-depth research on individual files when the need arises.
While Mr. Kahin won this case, there is no guarantee that when a new officer looks at his case that it will not be refused again. Individuals who apply for Canadian permanent residency should be very careful when listing out their employment history and providing reference and other letters to ensure that all of the information is accurate. Hiding a period of unemployment, exaggerating ones duties at work, and exaggerating the time a person worked for an organization can be detrimental to an immigration case. It is always advisable to fully disclose an employment history accurately so that in any investigation, the information on the application is verified as true.
This Article is prepared for general information purposes only and is intended to provide comments for readers and friends of the Filipino Journal. The contents should not be viewed as legal advice or opinion.
Reis is a partner with the law firm of Aikins, MacAulay & Thorvaldson LLP and practices in the areas of immigration law. His direct line is 957-4640. If you would like to know more about Reis or Aikins you can visit the firm’s web page at www.aikins.com, follow Reis on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/ImmigrationReis, or connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/reispagtakhan