2,900 being stripped of fraudulently obtained citizenship.

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2,900 being stripped of fraudulently obtained citizenship.

Postby gotchya » Sun Sep 09, 2012 10:30 pm

A widening federal crackdown has identified a record number of people suspected of acquiring their Canadian citizenship and immigration status through fraud, according to a government source.

The number of newcomers under investigation for misrepresenting themselves in their dealings with Citizenship and Immigration Canada has ballooned to an historic 11,000 as a result of nation-wide enforcement.

The figure is almost double the 6,500 identified by federal officials less than a year ago, suggesting that Canada’s citizenship and immigration fraud problems may be more widespread than previously thought.


Often facilitated by immigration consultants, this type of fraud has allowed foreigners to sponsor relatives and qualify for Canadian passports, benefits and the right to vote — all without ever having lived in Canada for any significant period.

Jason Kenney, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, was expected to brief reporters on the new figures on Monday. A source said he would announce that officials were stripping 2,900 Canadians of their citizenship for fraud.

The announcement comes nine months after Mr. Kenney said his department was working with the Canada Border Services Agency and RCMP to combat the problem, and vowed to prosecute those involved and strip them of their Canadian status.

Since then, dozens of charges have been laid, mostly against immigration consultants accused of helping clients defraud the government. Mr. Kenney has said consultants were collecting “upwards of $25,000” per family for this service, making it a multi-million dollar racket.

At least 5,000 of the 11,000 now under investigation are permanent residents suspected of committing residence fraud, which occurs when an immigrant claims to have moved to Canada but actually continues to live abroad.

Immigrants are required to actually live in Canada to maintain their status. But officials have been documenting a growing number who only come to Canada long enough to get their immigration papers stamped.

They then return to their home countries. Nonetheless, they pretend to be living in Canada so they can sponsor relatives and qualify for Canadian citizenship after three years. In some cases, those committing residence fraud have set up elaborate paper trails to give the appearance they are living in Canada.

Many of those involved in the scam are from the Middle East, particularly Lebanon. While they do not wish to actually move to Canada, they want an escape hatch in the event their home countries become unstable, according to internal documents.

“Anecdotal evidence suggests that a percentage of applicants from the Middle East obtain permanent resident status, then Canadian citizenship, with the goal of acquiring a second passport as insurance in case of instability in their country of first residence,” reads a federal study.

The study, released under the Access to Information Act to Vancouver lawyer Richard Kurland, found a significant level of fraud among permanent residents applying to sponsor family members in Lebanon.

Only residents of Canada can sponsor a relative to immigrate. But the study said up to a third of Lebanese sponsorship cases were suspect. In other words, the sponsors did not really reside in Canada but were pretending to in order to help their relatives acquire immigrant status.

The problem is also said to be acute in the Persian Gulf, with its high-paying jobs and business opportunities.

“As a result,” reads another government report released to Mr. Kurland, “many permanent resident applicants are reluctant to leave the Gulf to settle in Canada permanently but want to obtain PR [Permanent Resident] status and citizenship for reasons of security, the future of their children and a potential doubling of their salary by virtue of holding a Canadian passport.” It said a “significant” number of sponsorships were fraudulent.

A common scenario involves immigrant families. While the spouse and children do live full-time in Canada, the breadwinner continues to work abroad but lies about it to immigration authorities to maintain Canadian status. Investigators have been identifying such cases partly through a recently-established telephone tip line.

A source said the spike in the fraud numbers was also the result of a new case management system that alerts enforcement officials when a large number of immigrants give the same address as their home in Canada — which can be an indicator of residence fraud.

Revoking permanent resident status from fraudsters is fairly straight forward, but a Cabinet order is required to strip citizenship from a Canadian. Some are expected to fight the decision through the courts.

Oh Canada, why is it that you continue to allow yourself to be the doormat of the world, walked on and abused?
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Re: 2,900 being stripped of fraudulently obtained citizenshi

Postby Punisher-One » Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:00 am

At least 5,000 of the 11,000 now under investigation are permanent residents suspected of committing residence fraud, which occurs when an immigrant claims to have moved to Canada but actually continues to live abroad.

Immigrants are required to actually live in Canada to maintain their status. But officials have been documenting a growing number who only come to Canada long enough to get their immigration papers stamped.

They then return to their home countries. Nonetheless, they pretend to be living in Canada so they can sponsor relatives and qualify for Canadian citizenship after three years. In some cases, those committing residence fraud have set up elaborate paper trails to give the appearance they are living in Canada.

Many of those involved in the scam are from the Middle East, particularly Lebanon. While they do not wish to actually move to Canada, they want an escape hatch in the event their home countries become unstable, according to internal documents.

“Anecdotal evidence suggests that a percentage of applicants from the Middle East obtain permanent resident status, then Canadian citizenship, with the goal of acquiring a second passport as insurance in case of instability in their country of first residence,” reads a federal study.


No kidding?
You mean all those "Canadians" we spent millions of dollars "saving" from the crisis over there just wanted a Canadian passport to escape and really didn't want to live here?

Every PR that doesn't meet the residency requirement should be stripped of status and punted immediately.
Also forget the "living in Canada for two years of every five" BS....make it "living permanently in Canada".
Don't want to live here? Don't apply for residency.

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Re: 2,900 being stripped of fraudulently obtained citizenshi

Postby Protector24 » Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:40 am

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Last edited by Protector24 on Sat May 25, 2013 9:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 2,900 being stripped of fraudulently obtained citizenshi

Postby gotchya » Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:55 am

Protector24 wrote:I never understood 2/5 years... I mean, should your country of permanent residence be somewhere that you live more than 40% of your time? It should be 4/5 years or even 2/3.

Or we could go back to the old act, where after you're absent for six months you're deemed to have abandon it.
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Re: 2,900 being stripped of fraudulently obtained citizenshi

Postby cn80n » Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:27 am

Nice to see that at least SOMETHING is now being done...we'll see how much success we will have...I can foresee "humanitarian-compassionate-best interest of child-etc-ad nauseam" kicking in....and 1 out of every 1000 ACTUALLY being forced to leave Canada.
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Re: 2,900 being stripped of fraudulently obtained citizenshi

Postby Dudley DoRight » Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:20 am

Whjy would we ever kick them out when we are fighting to have a convicted medic-killing terrorist returned to Canada to evade his jail term in Gitmo?

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Re: 2,900 being stripped of fraudulently obtained citizenshi

Postby 48highlander » Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:23 am

Dudley DoRight wrote:Whjy would we ever kick them out when we are fighting to have a convicted medic-killing terrorist returned to Canada to evade his jail term in Gitmo?


Who is fighting to have him returned? Certainlly not the government, various special interests maybe, but the government seems to be blocking and dragging out his return as much as they can.

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Re: 2,900 being stripped of fraudulently obtained citizenshi

Postby Dudley DoRight » Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:59 am

Several hi profile federal pols including a retired general who has his head up his ass are yipping to have him rejoin Canada's terrorist first family.
I also seem to remember that Hands Up Jack was whining about the innocent child soldier as well.
"Liberal Senator Romeo Dallaire releases a statement on the tenth anniversary of Omar Khadr’s capture in Afghanistan.


Today marks the 10th anniversary of Omar Khadr’s capture—a Canadian citizen and former child soldier. During his decade at Bagram and Guantánamo Bay, Mr. Khadr’s rights have been consistently violated. He has been denied the right to due process and a fair trial, the right to protection from torture and the rights afforded to him under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“After years of inertia, Canada finally agreed to Mr. Khadr’s return in 2010, as long as he served one additional year in Guantánamo. That year has passed, and yet the transfer request continues to gather dust on Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews’ desk, awaiting his signature.

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Re: 2,900 being stripped of fraudulently obtained citizenshi

Postby smarmy_rebel » Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:20 pm

cn80n wrote:Nice to see that at least SOMETHING is now being done...we'll see how much success we will have...I can foresee "humanitarian-compassionate-best interest of child-etc-ad nauseam" kicking in....and 1 out of every 1000 ACTUALLY being forced to leave Canada.


If you read the article, it states most of them don't even live in Canada...

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Re: 2,900 being stripped of fraudulently obtained citizenshi

Postby Columbo » Mon Sep 10, 2012 3:22 pm

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Last edited by Columbo on Sun May 26, 2013 10:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2,900 being stripped of fraudulently obtained citizenshi

Postby gotchya » Mon Sep 10, 2012 3:54 pm

Columbo wrote:You don't actually have to live in Canada at all as a permanent resident, depending on what you're doing and who you're travelling with abroad. The 730 day/5 year rule is but one aspect of maintaining residency obligations.

Yes but the provisions for that apply to very few people,I'd say most people simply don't live here.
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CBSA crackdown on fake ctzs comes after years of investigati

Postby gotchya » Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:18 pm

TORONTO — Jason Cannon had been a federal immigration investigator for all of a month when his boss at the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) told him to take a look at the immigration consulting firms operating in Halifax.

There were six of them, it turned out. One was called Canada 2000 Immigration and Business Services. It had an office near Citadel Hill and a client list that read like a who’s who of the Middle East.

A senior Arab Bank official from Dubai. An endocrinologist at the Security Forces Hospital in Riyadh. An executive at a Beirut investment house. All had immigrated using Canada 2000, or C2K, which had offices in seven countries.

Using the pretext of looking for another business, Mr. Cannon paid a visit to C2K headquarters at 1461 Brenton St. He found a small storefront next to a stationary store. Inside were four cubicles and a few computers.

But when Mr. Cannon checked government records, he discovered that, since 2003, 177 immigrants to Canada had claimed their home address was 1461 Brenton St. Several businesses also used the same address.

Something wasn’t right, he thought.

Over the next two years, the CBSA put C2K under surveillance, looked through its garbage, reassembled shredded documents and executed search warrants before charging three people with running an immigration fraud scheme.

The CBSA alleged in a news release last May the company had helped immigrants create “the fictitious appearance” that they lived in Canada when they were really living abroad. This was allegedly done so immigrants could meet Canada’s residency requirements and qualify for Canadian citizenship.

Reached by email, C2K president Ziad El Shurafa, 40, who lives in Dubai, referred a reporter to his lawyer, Chris Robinson. Mr. Robinson said Mr. El Shurafa only learned of the charges through the news and denied any wrongdoing.

The Halifax lawyer said it was common for immigrants to use the mailing address of their consultant until they got one of their own. He said it was up to immigrants, not their consultants, to give authorities their correct home address once they had one.

The case against C2K concerns eight immigrant families, but officials are investigating a record number of newcomers for allegedly defrauding the system by claiming to live in Canada when they have never really left their home countries.

Jason Kenney, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, announced on Monday that almost 11,000 people were under investigation for immigration fraud. He said officials had begun revoking citizenship from 3,100 Canadians who had obtained it by fraud.

“We will not stand by and allow people to lie and cheat their way into becoming citizens,” said the minister, who laid part of the blame on “unscrupulous” agents he said had sold advice, for up to $25,000, on how to scam the Canadian system.

Those who immigrate to Canada are required to live in Canada to maintain their status as permanent residents, but investigators have been finding increasing numbers who only stay long enough to have their papers stamped.

While they are outside Canada, however, consultants allegedly help them maintain the appearance that they are living and working in Canada. That way, immigrants can meet government residency requirements and, after three years, qualify for citizenship — all without actually living in Canada.

Many of those involved in these scams are said to be from the Middle East and appear to be seeking an escape hatch in the event of instability in their home countries, though are not prepared to leave their lucrative jobs at home in the meantime. Instead, they move their spouse and children to Canada but continue to work abroad, while lying about it to immigration authorities in order to maintain their Canadian status.

As part of the nation-wide effort to crack down on the problem, federal investigators have been taking a closer look at immigration consultancies like C2K, which is headquartered in Halifax and has representatives in Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The C2K case has not gone to trial and none of the charges has been proven in court. Mr. Robinson said prosecutors had not yet disclosed any details of the allegations to Mr. El Shurafa. “We have not received a single page of paper, absolutely nothing. We have no idea what the basis is for the content of the allegations that form the basis of these charges,” he said.

During its investigation, the CBSA wrote a 42-page affidavit outlining its suspicions and took it to a Halifax justice of the peace for the purpose of obtaining a search warrant. Mr. Robinson cautioned the document was not evidence of wrongdoing. “It will never see the light of day in a trial,” he said.

But it does offer a glimpse into how immigration authorities are investigating such cases. It shows that after focusing on C2K in July 2010, the CBSA put Mr. El Shurafa and his associates under “covert surveillance.”

Over the following months, officers claimed they saw C2K associates driving cars registered to clients, living in homes owned by clients and running companies that provided employment letters to clients, the affidavit said. Mr. Robinson declined to comment on those allegations.

On Dec. 2, 2010, Mr. Cannon staked out the home of Awni Sakalla, who had been seen coming and going from the C2K office, according to the warrant document. When Mr. Sakalla took his trash to the curb and drove off in his silver Chevy Malibu, Mr. Cannon collected the garbage bags and sorted through them.

Inside one, he found shredded papers, which CBSA investigators painstakingly reassembled over the following weeks. “We all worked on it,” said Albert Price, the CBSA’s Manager of Investigations in the Atlantic region. “It took quite a bit of time. Every investigator in the office, including myself, spent some time. It was like a project. Everyone would sort of pick it up, work at it, put it together as best they could.”

One of the shredded documents was a five-page spreadsheet with a list of 14 C2K clients. Mr. Cannon checked the names and concluded that half of them had allegedly given false information about the amount of time they had spent in Canada. Two others appeared to be working in the Middle East instead of Canada.

Abdul Karim Chams-Eddine was one of those on the list. According to the CBSA search warrant affidavit, the Lebanese corporate and investment analyst immigrated to Canada in 2003 and at one time listed the C2K office as his home address.

“My two kids were born in Canada in 2005 and 2008,” he said this week in a phone interview from Beirut. “I lived there, I had a house.” He said he had worked for Luxury Suites, a condo rental company located in the same office as C2K. “I used to be a consultant mainly in terms of investments,” he said.

In 2008, Mr. Chams-Eddine applied to renew his permanent resident card. He told Citizenship and Immigration Canada he had made two trips abroad in 2003 and 2007, totaling 44 days. But the CBSA said its records showed he had returned from several trips abroad that he did not mention when he applied to renew his permanent resident card. The agency refused his application.

He denied the claim he had not lived in Canada. “The issue is the type of documentation. They are asking for a lot of documentation,” he said. “I provided as much as possible and since then nothing happened with my file.” He said he left Canada in 2008 to take a job in Lebanon.

Another Lebanese C2K client, who supposedly immigrated to Halifax in 2005, allegedly knew so little about Canada that when she tried to renew her permanent resident card in 2010 she carried with her a 19-page document to remind her where she lived, the name of her doctor and important phone numbers such as 911.

Partly on the basis of the garbage-picked spreadsheet, Mr. Cannon asked for a search warrant. “As a result of this investigation to date, I believe it is not coincidental that such a large number of people, who are Canada 2000 clients, have misrepresented themselves,” he wrote in the affidavit. He added he suspected that Mr. El Shurafa and his associates had “counselled their clients to misrepresent themselves to CIC and have committed misrepresentation themselves.”

Three locations in Halifax were searched on May 11, 2011. “It was a huge project,” Mr. Price said. A year later, the CBSA announced Mr. El Shurafa and Mohammed Elhajabed had been charged with eight counts of counselling misrepresentation. Mr. Sakalla was charged with two counts.

Mr. Sakalla has not yet entered a plea. His lawyer, Kevin Burke, declined to comment. Neither Mr. El Shurafa nor Mr. Elhajabed has returned to Canada since the charges were laid, but Mr. Robinson said his client was willing to face the allegations.

“He wants to respond. Nobody’s hiding anywhere. He’s been in Dubai for a number of years now, that’s where his base is,” his lawyer said. “He’s had counsel for well over a year, dealing with all the necessary authorities on a regular basis and communicating, co-operating. And yet there he is, still in limbo.”

Despite the charges, Mr. El Shurafa continues to work as an immigration consultant in Dubai. “You’ve got a professional who’s been running a very large and very successful business for 16 years now in various countries, of which Canada is one,” Mr. Robinson said. “And on the back of some allegations … he has had his reputation very, very seriously affected.”

Immigration consultant Phil Mooney said nobody wanted to weed out fraud more than the industry itself. Mr. Mooney recently stepped down as president of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council, which was formed in June 2011. Membership is obligatory for immigration consultants.

He said the Council had three priorities: regulating members; educating members; and “going after the bad guys” in the business. During its first year in operation, the Council received 446 complaints and forwarded 132 of those to the CBSA for investigation. It is currently processing a complaint against Mr. El Shurafa.


http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/09/10 ... stigation/
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Re: 2,900 being stripped of fraudulently obtained citizenshi

Postby gotchya » Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:48 pm

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."-Burke, Edmund
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Re: 2,900 being stripped of fraudulently obtained citizenshi

Postby gotchya » Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:01 pm

Ottawa, September 11, 2012 — Beginning at 12:01 a.m. EDT today citizens of St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines (St. Vincent), Namibia, Botswana, and Swaziland now require a visa to travel to Canada, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced.

For the first 48 hours, or until 11:59 a.m. September 12, citizens of these countries who are in transit to Canada at the time the visa requirement takes effect will be able to receive a Temporary Resident Permit on arrival in Canada, free of charge, if they are not otherwise inadmissible to Canada.

“We continue to welcome genuine visitors to Canada,” said Minister Kenney. “However, these visa requirements will give us a greater ability to manage the flow of people into Canada.”

This change will allow Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and its partners to screen more travellers for security risks prior to their arrival in Canada. This will help significantly reduce the risk that individuals engaged in organized crime or the trafficking of persons could gain entry to Canada.

A key reason why the Government has imposed visa requirements on St. Lucia and St. Vincent is unreliable travel documents. In particular, criminals from these countries can legally change their names and acquire new passports. In some instances, people who were removed from Canada as security risks later returned using different passports. In the cases of Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland, human trafficking, especially of minors, and fraudulent documents are significant concerns.

“These requirements will better protect the safety of Canadians by preventing foreign criminals from coming to Canada in the first place,” said Minister Kenney.

Canada regularly reviews its visa requirements toward other countries. Countries are aware that they have a responsibility to satisfy certain conditions to receive a visa exemption.

This visa policy change means that nationals from St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland who want to travel to Canada will first need to apply for a visitor visa and meet the requirements to receive one.

It is up to applicants to satisfy visa officers that their visit to Canada is temporary and they will not overstay their authorized stay; have enough money to cover their stay; are in good health; do not have a criminal record; and are not a security risk to Canadians. These requirements are the same for anyone who wants to visit Canada.

Applicants from St. Lucia and St. Vincent can now submit their applications by mail or in person to the Canadian visa office in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Applications will be accepted by the visa office in Pretoria, South Africa, for those from Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland. In the months ahead travellers to Canada will be able to apply online for all temporary visas.

This decision will further strengthen the immigration and asylum systems, and it complements the measures the government is implementing this year under the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act, which recently received Royal Assent, and those proposed in Bill C-43, the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act.

“The Government of Canada remains committed to preserving the security of our borders and immigration system, and to protecting the safety of Canadians,” said Minister Kenney.

Go Kenny Go!
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Re: 2,900 being stripped of fraudulently obtained citizenshi

Postby cn80n » Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:06 am

smarmy_rebel wrote:
cn80n wrote:Nice to see that at least SOMETHING is now being done...we'll see how much success we will have...I can foresee "humanitarian-compassionate-best interest of child-etc-ad nauseam" kicking in....and 1 out of every 1000 ACTUALLY being forced to leave Canada.


If you read the article, it states most of them don't even live in Canada...


Apologies. Should have stated "1 out of every 1000 actually losing the citizenship".
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