Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Canada has begun revoking citizenship from 3,100 people ...


TORONTO (AP) — Canada has begun revoking citizenship from 3,100 people
that the government said obtained it fraudulently, the country's
immigration minister said Monday.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said that in most of the fraud
cases, applicants paid a representative to prove they were living in
Canada to establish residency when they were, in fact, living abroad.

Permanent residents must reside in Canada for three out of four
consecutive years before applying for Canadian citizenship. To retain
their status as permanent residents, they must live in Canada for two
out of five years, with rare exceptions.

Criminal investigations by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the
Canadian Border Services Agency have found that a family of five could
pay over $25,000 over four or more years to create the illusion of
Canadian residence.

The government said it is also investigating thousands of others who
may have lied to obtain or maintain permanent residency. Kenney said
anyone caught committing fraud will be stripped of citizenship and
residence status.

"Canadian citizenship is not for sale," Kenney said during a news
conference Monday. "We will not stand idly by and allow people to lie
and cheat their way into Canadian citizenship."

Kenney has said that Canada's per-capita immigration rate remains one
of the highest in the world, with the country welcoming 248,660
permanent residents in 2011. An average of about 250,000 immigrants
has been admitted to Canada annually since 2006, which the immigration
department calls the highest sustained level of immigration in
Canadian history.

The minister said a crack-down on immigration fraud started three
years ago, with nearly 11,000 individuals potentially implicated in
lying to apply for citizenship or maintain permanent resident status.

He said federal agencies have so far removed or denied admittance to
more than 600 former permanent residents linked to the investigations.

Kenney also said he is planning to introduce amendments to the
Citizenship Act that would require immigration consultants to be
members of a regulatory body, which he said may help crack down on
crooked consultants.