Canadian Citizenship Not for Sale: Minister Kenney

OTTAWA, ONTARIO — The Government of
Canada’s investigation into residence fraud continues to grow, with
nearly 11,000 individuals potentially implicated in lying to apply
for citizenship or maintain permanent resident status.

“We are applying the full strength of Canadian law to those who have
obtained citizenship fraudulently,” said Citizenship, Immigration and
Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney. “Canadian citizenship is not
for sale. We are taking action to strip citizenship and permanent
residence status from people who don’t play by the rules and who lie
or cheat to become a Canadian citizen.”

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has begun the process to
revoke the citizenship of up to 3,100 citizens who obtained it
fraudulently. Minister Kenney first announced the investigations last
year. CIC is working closely with the Canada Border Services Agency
(CBSA), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and Canadian
offices abroad to tackle this fraud.

“Today’s announcement is the end-result of the hard work done by the
RCMP and CBSA, and they should be congratulated for their dedicated
effort in bringing these charges forward,” said Canada’s Public
Safety Minister Vic Toews. “These efforts reinforce our government’s
commitment to protecting the integrity of our immigration system.”

The Department has also been working on cases of those who are not
yet citizens. Nearly 5,000 people with permanent resident status who
are known to be implicated in residence fraud have been flagged for
additional scrutiny should they attempt to enter Canada or obtain
citizenship. The majority of these individuals are believed to be
outside the country.

Permanent residents must reside in Canada for three years out of four
years prior to applying for Canadian citizenship. To retain their
status as permanent residents, they must be physically present in
Canada for two out of five years with few exceptions.

In typical cases, permanent residents will use the services of an
unscrupulous immigration representative to fraudulently establish
evidence of residence in Canada while living abroad most, if not all,
of the time. This is perpetrated so that individuals can fraudulently
maintain their permanent residence status and later apply for
citizenship. RCMP and CBSA criminal investigations have found that a
family of five may pay upwards of $25,000 over four or more years to
create the illusion of Canadian residence.

Finally, CIC has flagged the files of another 2,500 individuals
where, for various reasons, there are concerns. These individuals
will be watched closely should they make future applications. This
makes a total of nearly 11,000 individuals tied to citizenship and
residence fraud investigations.

To date, CIC and its partners have removed or denied admittance to
over 600 former permanent residents linked to the investigations, and
have denied about 500 citizenship applications where the applicants
do not meet the residence requirements. Almost 1,800 applicants
linked to the investigations have abandoned their citizenship
applications as word about these investigations spreads.

“We will not stand by and allow people to lie and cheat their way
into becoming citizens,” added Minister Kenney. “I encourage anyone
who has information regarding citizenship fraud to call our tip line
to report it. There is no time limit for investigating this type of
fraud.”

Over the past six years, Canada has had the highest sustained level
of immigration in Canadian history. The Government of Canada is
committed to creating an immigration system that brings the world’s
best and brightest to Canada while protecting our immigration system
against those who would abuse our generosity.

Cases involving false representation, fraud or knowingly concealing
material circumstances in the citizenship process-for example,
pretending to be present in Canada to meet the residence requirements
for obtaining citizenship-should be referred to the citizenship fraud
tip line at CIC’s Call Centre at 1-888-242-2100 (in Canada only, 8:00
a.m. to 4:00 p.m. local time, Monday through Friday). Tips may also
be reported by email at Citizenship-fraud-tips@cic.gc.ca. Those
overseas can also contact the nearest Canadian visa office.

All other types of immigration fraud can be reported to the CBSA’s
Border Watch Tip Line at 1 888-502-9060. Tips accepted by the Border
Watch Tip Line include, but are not limited to, suspicious
cross-border activity, marriages of convenience, misrepresentation in
any temporary or permanent immigration application, or the
whereabouts of any person wanted on an immigration warrant.