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How Does Your Social Media Profile Affect Your Immigration Application

Sometime last year, we secured admission for one of our clients into a university in Canada. We paid his tuition fees and received a confirmation of payment. We then applied for his student visa, attaching all necessary supporting documents, including his letter of admission, letter of acceptance and confirmation of payment of tuition. His application was denied.

Another client who is a senior banker with extensive travel history, had also applied for a visitor’s visa to travel to Canada on vacation. He too was denied. Given his travel history and even subsisting visas to the US and UK, he understandably was aghast as to why his application was denied.

The reason given for refusal in both cases described above was simply that the officer was not convinced the applicants would return to Nigeria prior to or at the expiration of their visas. This is a boiler plate reason for denial. The actual reason for the denial is not apparent and I dare say, unknown. Now, while we have been able to get the decision on the student overturned, our second client decided not to further pursue his application at the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. But the question remains. What was the real reason for the refusals?

We have found from our research that Immigration officials particular in North American and European countries are increasingly looking up the social media profiles of immigration applicants for information about the applicant. They use it to assess not only the level of risk the applicant may pose if allowed into the country, but also to obtain information about the applicant that may contradict the information provided in the immigration application. No doubt, any such contradictory information would be problematic and could potentially negatively impact the chances of the application being approved.

Immigration officials at ports of entry and border posts are also increasingly demanding to look into laptops and cell phones of immigrants to get a sense of who they are through their social media profiles and posts, particularly on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Whatsapp etc.

Now, while Immigration officials may deny that an applicant’s social media personality is a factor in determining their eligibility to be granted a visa, there is absolutely no doubt that it does. For applicants for Canadian Permanent Residency, it is critically important to understand that Canada does not want to bring in troublemakers and agitators and much of that personality can be discerned from your social media presence.

The word therefor is caution. Be careful of the image you are presenting on social media as it could impact your immigration application, now or in the future.

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