The Department of Citizenship and Immigration has announced that over 3,000 people will be losing their citizenship status as a result of a massive crackdown on fraud.
The crackdown has uncovered more instances of fraud than first estimated by officials. Currently, over 11,000 people are under investigation for possible immigration fraud – most of which center on false claims regarding the amount of time spent living in Canada. Officials have even coined a specific term for this phenomenon – residence fraud.
Once an applicant is granted immigrant status in Canada they must fulfill certain residency requirements, such as having to spend two out of the next five years living in the country.
However, it has become increasingly common for certain applicants to arrive in Canada, get their visas stamped, and then head straight back home with no intention of moving. They are then able to sponsor relatives for immigration and soon obtain permanent residency themselves.
Government reports indicate that a large number of such cases originate from the Middle East, where circumstances can change easily and quickly. Some see Canadian citizenship as a sort of “back-up plan” to be used only in cases of emergency.
Sometimes the entire family moves to Canada but the main applicant stays behind to continue working and earning money for their dependents. This way a paper trail can be created to claim that they have fulfilled residency requirements.
“We will not stand by and allow people to lie and cheat their way into becoming citizens,” said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney upon announcing the massive citizenship initiative.
Source: National Post