Elinor was always a law abiding citizen. When she came to Canada on a temporary resident visa she continued to follow all of the legal and immigration requirements. Then she met – Jack, who claimed to be an immigration practitioner and an educator. Canada has just announced a new simplified procedure to immigrate, and Jack promised Elinor that he would help her to apply.
Elinor started attending an “online” school that Jack suggested where she had classes, received study materials, wrote exams. She also paid a hefty amount of money for this schooling, but this did not alert her: Elinor knew that international students in Canada pay high school fees. She wrote her final exams and received a digital diploma.
With this diploma in hand, Elinor applied for Permanent Residence to Canada. In a few months she received a letter from Immigration Canada asking her to provide her final grades from school. Elinor tried to reach out to her teacher, but received no answer. She then called Jack who also ghosted her. When she went to the school in person, she was told that the program she was previously attending was never offered by them. Elinor was lost. She came to us for help.
Courts and Immigration hold a pretty strict position on providing fake documents: you lied to our authorities thus you are going to be banned from Canada for 5 years for misrepresentation. Sometimes, you can also be criminally charged for participation in a fraudulent activity. There is one line of defence in cases like this one: innocent mistake. To show that your mess-up was innocent you really need to present a very compelling reason for this mistake. It is really hard to succeed in it.
With Elinor we had to prove that there was never any indication that the “school” she attended was fake. Luckily for her, there was enough evidence to show that Elinor did not intend to mislead Immigration.
So what happened next?
After a series of communications with Immigration Canada, hundreds of pages of documentary proof Elinor was able to receive her Permanent Residence. She was really close to losing everything though and being banned from Canada.