In recent months, Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has lived up to his promise of cracking down on immigration fraud. This past fall alone, Citizenship and Immigration Canada along with the Canadian Border Services Agency have foiled several immigration fraud schemes, both large and small in nature.
The couple earned Canadian permanent resident status in 2007, which required them to maintain a physical presence in Canada for a minimum of two out of the five subsequent years. The couple fell considerably short of this requirement, only spending about a month’s time in Canada, leading the Court of Quebec to fine the pair $120,000 for immigration fraud. The couple may also be stripped of their residency status, pending an additional trial.
The fine serves as a punitive measure by demonstrating the severe consequences that can result from lying to Canadian immigration officials, and signals to others that immigration fraud will not be tolerated in Canada.
This case was among the first to be brought to the public’s attention, after Kenney announced in September that thousands of files were being investigated due to suspicion of residency fraud. Citizenship and Immigration Canada has stated that more than 10,000 people have been suspected of committing residency fraud. This figure includes 5,000 individuals whom already hold permanent resident status, and will face additional security measures should they try to enter the country or apply for Canadian citizenship, in addition to 3,100 naturalized citizens who will be stripped of their citizenship due to residency fraud. The remaining cases involve individuals who have been flagged for various concerns with the legitimacy of their residency claims.