Why you need to disclose changes in your family during the immigration process?

Why you need to disclose changes in your family during the immigration process?

Individuals immigrating to Canada must disclose their spouses, common-law partners, and dependent children. Failure to disclose these family members can result in an immigration application being refused. The court case of Yanjun Dong is a recent example of the need to disclose family members.

What happens if you forget to disclose changes in your family?
In this case, Ms Dong applied for permanent residence for herself and her daughter under the Prince Edward Island Provincial Nominee Program. In her original 2008 application, she indicated that she was divorced. In April 2010, her application was processed by the Canadian Consulate and she was informed that she and her daughter would be issued permanent resident visas.
In May 2010, Ms Dong got married. One week later, she received visas for herself and her daughter and in October 2010, she and her daughter arrived in Canada. At no point in time prior to her arrival in Canada did Ms Dong inform the Consulate of her marriage.
While Ms Dong did not inform the Consulate of her marriage, a month before she and her daughter arrived in Canada, her husband applied for a visa to visit Canada to help Ms Dong move to Canada. In his application, he indicated that he and Ms Dong got married before Ms Dong’s visa was issued.
When Ms Dong arrived in Canada, she was questioned by an immigration officer who was concerned that she did not disclose her marriage. She then withdrew her application to enter Canada and returned back to her home country. Because of her failure to disclose the marriage, her visa was eventually cancelled.

Who must disclose information regarding changes to the family?
In court, Ms Dong argued that because here husband disclosed their marriage in his application to visit Canada, the Consulate was aware of her marriage before Ms Dong and her daughter arriving in the country.
While there was no question about her husband’s honesty, the judge in Ms Dong’s case noted was that she was asked by the Consulate in writing (and on at least three occasions) to disclose all births, deaths, marriages, divorces, new custody arrangements and adoptions. Because she was warned several times about doing this, the judge found that it was her responsibility to inform immigration.
The judge also said this even though the officer at the airport knew of Ms Dong’s marriage before she arrived; it was not the government’s responsibility to find this information out. Again, the judge said it was Ms Dong responsibility to tell immigration about this information.
As a result, even though her husband disclosed the marriage in his application to visit Canada, Ms Dong’s visa remained cancelled because she did not disclose the marriage herself. Ms Dong lost her case.

When must information about changes in family members be disclosed?
The obligation to disclose family members exists until the date the individual arrives in Canada and becomes a permanent resident. As a result, if individuals get married, divorced, have children or adopt between the time they file an immigration application and the time they enter Canada, this information should be disclosed immediately.

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 Aikins Law 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.