September 10, 2012
The Wall Street Journal
By Nirmala Menon
The Canadian government will revoke the citizenship of 3,100 people it says obtained the status fraudulently, and is investigating thousands more who may have lied to obtain citizenship or maintain permanent-resident status in Canada.
Though the process of revoking citizenship is “very cumbersome,” many targeted individuals aren’t challenging the action because the government has “absolutely compelling evidence” about the fraud, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Monday.
“Canadian citizenship is not for sale,” he declared while providing an update on the crackdown on immigration fraud, launched last year.
Permanent residents must live in Canada for three of the four years prior to applying for Canadian citizenship, and have to be physically present in the country for two out of five years in order to maintain permanent resident status. Canada’s investigation takes aim at people who live overseas and pay upwards of 25,000 Canadian dollars (US$25,557) to immigration consultants to establish fake proof of residency.
“There is a global industry of unscrupulous, unethical immigration and citizenship agents posing as bona fide consultants who will sell people advice on how to scam the Canadian system,” Mr. Kenney said.
He said those who use the services of these agents typically live in tax havens. “This is an economic calculation for many of them,” Mr. Kenney said, pointing out that a Canadian passport comes with “huge advantages,” such as high-quality healthcare and subsidized post-secondary education.