Should I disclose work experience if it was already disclosed in a previous application?

Failing to disclose your complete personal history could constitute a misrepresentation.

Last updated on
December 8, 2023

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Yes. In summary, the question of whether you should disclose work or other information if it has been disclosed in previous applications has been clarified by Justice Elliot of the Federal Court of Canada in a recent judicial review. The answer is unequivocally yes. Failing to disclose your complete personal history, including work experience or education history, in a current application could constitute a misrepresentation, even if it was disclosed in previous applications.

Why is this important?

This practice is crucial because many application forms explicitly require applicants to disclose their entire personal history, including work experience, educational background, and even personal history, such as memberships and volunteer experiences. Immigration authorities expect applicants to provide a comprehensive overview of their background, and they do not assume the responsibility of reviewing previous applications for consistency. Applicants might believe that they do not need to disclose information again, but they should.

The case at hand

In the case of Akintunde v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2022 FC 977, the applicant applied for the Federal Skilled Worker Program under Express Entry after previously applying for a study permit and a work permit. In the earlier applications, they had included information about their business back home. However, in the current application, they omitted this business information.

Despite arguing that the omission was a simple mistake and that the information had been disclosed in previous applications, IRCC found the applicant committed a misrepresentation.

Justice Elliot's ruling underscored that immigration officers are not tasked with revisiting previous applications to verify the consistency of disclosed information. Instead, it is the applicant's responsibility to disclose the information again when explicitly asked about their personal history.

Justice Elliot's perspective emphasizes that immigration officers are not obligated to scour past immigration applications for information you may have disclosed previously. Even if you provided certain details in prior applications, it is imperative to disclose them again in your current application to maintain transparency and avoid any potential misrepresentation.

[51] Regarding the Applicant’s prior disclosure of Edu-Font, the Officer attested to not having consulted the previous applications for two reasons: (1) it is up to the Applicant to provide accurate information in their application; and, (2) Officers do not have time to consult prior applications for unrelated visas to look for missing information.

[52] I find those statements are reasonable.

[53] Applicants should not expect an officer to keep a running tally of all documents ever submitted by an applicant nor expect an officer to do an applicant’s work for them. Visa officers are busy processing current applications. The Officer has attested to not having time to look for missing information in prior applications. The Applicant has not shown that it would be reasonable to expect an officer to cull through prior applications because an applicant says “I submitted that information before.” If something was previously disclosed, but is relevant to a question on a current application, then the onus is on the Applicant to disclose it again.

In conclusion, understanding the importance of comprehensive disclosure in immigration applications is essential to ensuring a smooth and accurate application process. Applicants must be diligent in providing all requested information, even if it has been disclosed previously, to avoid potential misrepresentation issues and maintain the integrity of their immigration journey.

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is general informational purposes and it is not legal advice. The information not a substitute for professional legal advice, and it may not be appropriate for you. Do not rely exclusively on this blog. Always conduct your own research and due diligence. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, immigration laws and regulations can vary and change over time. It is important to consult with a qualified immigration lawyer if you are unsure how to proceed.

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