Does the Information You Provide to Immigration Match What’s on Your Social Media?

While new U.S. regulations requiring visa applicants to the U.S. to submit information on their social media profiles has gotten quite a bit of attention, when applying for entry to Canada, travellers to Canada should note that it is important for information on their social media profiles to correspond with what they disclose to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency.

In the recent case of Yusuf v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration)a prospective immigrant to Canada, Mr. Yusuf, applied to immigrate to Canada as a skilled worker. As part of that process, he was required to honestly state his work history on his application. Because errors and omissions in an individual’s description of employment experience makes it possible for an immigration officer to make an error in processing an application, failure to provide adequate employment history is reasonable grounds to reject an application.

In Mr. Yusuf’s case, Canadian immigration officials found additional information about a prior directorship he held from information on a company website and on his LinkedIn profile. He had not disclosed this portion of his work history on his application.

As a result of this non-disclosure, the immigration officer sent a letter to Mr. Yusuf to give him a chance to explain why he omitted his work experience at that company on his immigration application. Mr. Yusuf provided an explanation for the company’s website but did not provide a sufficient explanation for the omission of the information on his LinkedIn profile. He tried – unsuccessfully – to argue that the additional work experience was not material because it would only strengthen his application. However, the judge in this case found that the immigration officer’s conclusion that Mr. Yusuf made a misrepresentation was reasonable. As a result, the judge upheld the refusal of Mr. Yusuf’s application.

Mr. Yusuf’s case is not the first case in which immigration officials have reviewed an applicant’s social media or online profiles when making decisions on whether the individual will be allowed to enter and remain in Canada. While Canada does not have a specific rule requiring the disclosure of social media information in the same sense as the Americans do, reviewing social media profiles is clearly something that immigration officials do.

As a result, all individuals applying to enter Canada must make sure that any of their information that is in the public domain is consistent and complete with what they submit to Canadian immigration or border officials. Failure to do so can result in a refusal of an application to enter Canada and a bar from travelling to Canada for up to five years.

Our immigration law team can provide guidance on Canadian immigration and help you or your company proactively address immigration challenges.

Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.