Sas and Ing response to COVID-19 READ

Posted on - May 11, 2021

By Catherine Sas Q.C.

Catherine Sas Q.C.

On April 14, 2021, Minister Mendicino introduced the Temporary Resident to Permanent Resident Pathway (“TR to PR”) class providing a marvelous opportunity for health care workers, designated essential workers and international students currently within Canada to apply for permanent residence. The threshold for success is much lower than the requirements under Express Entry and a total of 90,000 applicants were tagged for this new program with maximum targets of 20,000 for health care workers, 30,000 for essential workers and 40,000 for international students.

The program opened at 9:00am PST on Thursday, May 6, 2021, with the instructions being released at approximately 1:30 pm PST the day before. Not a lot of notice.

Immigration professionals and individual applicants scrambled to submit their applications as quickly as possible. By Friday morning the cap for international students had been reached. The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) website tracking the number of applications, clocked in at 10:29 am on Friday May 7, 2021, with a total of 40,001 applications having been received and the category was now closed. It took a total of 25.5 hours for the international student component to be filled up. By comparison, the health care worker and essential worker application levels were dramatically lower. The current levels can be found on the IRCC tracking system: Steams and Application Limits.

Not surprisingly, given the excitement and anticipation for this new program, there was a considerable amount of discussion on social media. A review of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram chatter is very telling. Many students were choosing to submit what they could to simply get a place in the queue without paying strict regard to the program guide. Several Immigration professionals were warning students about the perils of providing inaccurate information or submitting applications without the required documentation. This raises legitimate concern about the consequences of either course of action: refusal for incompleteness or misrepresentation.

Failure to meet the completeness test results in merely a refusal of the application. A finding of misrepresentation not only results in a refusal of the application but also a prohibition of submitting a future application for a period of five years! Yes, a finding of misrepresentation carries a penalty of a 5 year prohibition on any future immigration application. To be specific, s. 40 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (“IRPA”) reads as follows:

Misrepresentation

40 (1) A permanent resident or a foreign national is inadmissible for misrepresentation

  • (a) for directly or indirectly misrepresenting or withholding material facts relating to a relevant matter that induces or could induce an error in the administration of this Act;

What is the difference between completeness and misrepresentation?

Completeness is when the application satisfies all the elements of the specific immigration program which are deemed essential. Typically, that is the fee payment, originally signed application forms, a criminal clearance from both Canada and any other country that an applicant has resided in for more than six months, proof of past employment, a medical exam and a language test. If a form misses a signature or the required document is not included, the application is returned to the applicant. The criteria for the TR to PR category relaxes many of the standard criteria and allows applicants to provide proof that medicals and police clearances have simply been applied for and would be provided at a later date. This was not the case for providing a valid language test. With only 3 weeks notice from the announcement of the program to the opening on May 6, 2021, the in-Canada ILETS and CELPIP testing centres were filled within days, if not hours. Social media chatter indicated that many students were taking the more relaxed approach for medical and police clearance results with the language test requirement by merely providing a test examination date rather than an actual test result. IRCC has been clear that this will not meet the program requirements for completeness which is assessed from the date of submission. While it will be disappointing to have such an application refused, the opportunity to apply again in the future – whether for this program or another – remains an option for such an applicant.

Social media discussion also demonstrated more sombre activities such as providing a false identity or fabricated letters of reference confirming employment history. Be assured that a significant portion of the 40,001 applications submitted in the international student category are destined to be refused for misrepresentation with the individual losing their status in Canada, their application being refused, and a 5-year ban imposed for any future application to Canada. Also consider that once a person has a misrepresentation finding on their immigration record, notwithstanding that the 5-year ban has passed, IRCC officers will be highly sceptical about issuing another visa in the future.

If you or someone you know, submitted an application with false information, you are well advised to withdraw your application immediately before the application is considered by an IRCC officer. Given the manner in which COVID-19 has decimated Canadian immigration application levels for 2020 and 2021, it is highly likely that the TR to PR immigration program will be either extended or that other opportunities for immigration will arise. IRCC has been very creative and adaptive in the face of the pandemic. Students should follow the rules and preserve their ability to submit a future immigration application. Please refer to our recent blog on the topic of Misrepresentation at: The Perilous Nature of Misrepresentation.


Catherine Sas, Q.C. is a Vancouver immigration lawyer at Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre in Vancouver, BC Canada. Catherine has been practicing law for over 30 years, and has been voted Vancouver’s Best Immigration Lawyer by the Georgia Straight newspaper for 9 consecutive years.


To learn more about immigrating to Canada, becoming a permanent Canadian resident or bringing your family to Canada, email Catherine Sas or call her at 1-604-689-5444.

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