As with any immigration application, taking the necessary precautions to ensure that you are not misrepresenting yourself should be at the top of your priorities. But what about situations in which you believe you are putting forth your best efforts to be truthful, and an immigration officer determines otherwise?
Take, for example, the federal court case of Bhamra v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration Canada). In this case, Mr. Bhamra, a young carpenter from India, received approval from the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) and made application for his permanent residency with Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
As with any immigration application, the Immigration Officer in charge of Mr. Bhamra’s file was responsible for verifying Mr. Bharma’s information to determine whether he was being truthful. In doing so, the Officer needed to verify Mr. Bhamra’s periods of employment with his employer, the Panesar Timber Store in India. Mr. Bhamra claimed to have spent several years working at this store as a cabinetmaker and carpenter.
In his application, Mr. Bhamra supplied both the SINP and Citizenship and Immigration Canada with a sworn statement from Mr. Jit Singh, the alleged owner of the Panesar Timber Store. The sworn statement was written on company letterhead and was allegedly signed by Mr. Singh, whose contact information was listed on the letter.
Upon telephoning the Panesar Timber Store to verify Mr. Bhamra’s employment history, the Officer was provided with some surprising information. The Officer spoke to a man who, with no reason to suspect otherwise, allegedly claimed to be Mr. Singh. When asked about Mr. Bhamra, Mr. Singh allegedly indicated that he had never employed anyone by that name, nor did his business produce any of the products that Mr. Bhamra claimed to manufacture at the store (such as kitchen cabinetry or bedroom furniture). Not surprisingly, the Officer concluded from this conversation that Mr. Bhamra was misrepresenting himself on his immigration application, and refused it on this basis.
Before refusing the application, Mr. Bhamra was given 30 days to respond to the Officer’s allegations that he had supplied an allegedly fraudulent letter of employment. Within that 30-day period, Mr. Bhamra supplied yet another sworn letter, allegedly from the same Mr. Singh that had signed the first letter. The Officer refused the application on the basis of the telephone conversation with Mr. Singh.
One question that arises from this case is how an Officer can be certain that they are in fact speaking to the correct individual on the other end of the line? Mr. Bhamra insisted that the individual who answered the Officer’s phone call was not the real Mr. Singh. However, the Judge upheld refusal for the following reasons:
1.The Officer called the phone number that was listed as the one belonging to Mr. Singh on the original sworn statement letter;
2.The individual who answered the phone indicated at the beginning of the call that he was Mr. Singh; not at the end of the call or only when asked;
3.The individual who answered the phone denied on several occasions during the call ever having known or employed Mr. Bhamra, or anyone by that name;
4.The individual who answered the phone indicated that they only manufactured certain wood products, none of which were those listed by Mr. Bhamra;
5.The individual who answered the phone was able to name the other employees who were mentioned in the sworn statement letter provided by Mr. Bhamra; and
6.The Officer did not indicate to the individual that he was calling regarding an immigration application until the end of the conversation.
Because his application was refused on the grounds of a misrepresentation, Mr. Bhamra was barred from applying to immigrate to Canada for two years.
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. If you have specific questions regarding immigration law, you should discuss them with a legal advisor of your choice.
Reis is a partner with Aikins Law and practices in the areas of immigration law. His direct line is 204-957-4640. If you would like to know more about Reis or Aikins you can visit the firm’s web page at www.aikins.com or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Leanne is an immigration legal assistant at Aikins Law. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and criminal justice from the University of Winnipeg.