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Does Canadian immigration check your social media?

As social media has become increasingly popular in recent years, so has its uses in legal contexts. An insurance company or ex-spouse may try to use an individual’s social media posts as evidence against them in personal injury cases or divorce proceedings. In Canada, immigration services have also begun to follow suit.

What does Canadian immigration look at ?

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the Canada Border Services Agency will routinely cross check any information provided in an application against the prospective immigrant’s social media and public profiles. If there are any discrepancies, this could be grounds for refusal. In addition, the applicant could be barred from travelling to Canada for up to five years.

Therefore, it’s important for applicants to be extremely careful and thorough with any information they submit.

A recent case

There have been many examples of IRCC refusing an applicant based on application information that does not match what is in the public domain. One recent example is the case of Yusuf v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2019 FC 714 (CanLII). In this case, Mr. Yusuf was seeking employment in Canada as a skilled worker.

When IRCC reviewed his application, they found that he had work experience at a company that had not been included in his application – but was listed on Mr. Yusuf’s LinkedIn profile as well as the company’s website. Canadian immigration then sent Mr. Yusuf a letter, giving him the opportunity to explain his reason for failing to disclose this information. However, Mr. Yusuf’s rationale for omitting the information was not found to be reasonable, and the judge upheld his application refusal.

The devil is in the details

The immigration application process is exceptionally exhaustive. An applicant may meticulously complete all paperwork with the best of intentions, but if they forget to include a key piece of information that is available elsewhere on the internet, it could look like a deliberate omission to the immigration office. This is just one of the reasons the assistance of an immigration lawyer can be so valuable in the immigration process.