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Canada looking to close anchor-baby loopholes

News reports suggest Canada being played for passports.

David Trifunov   March 7, 2012 23:13


The Canadian government is contemplating changes to its immigration policy after

newspaper reports showed Chinese women are flying into the country to have

"anchor babies." (China Photos/AFP/Getty Images)

The Canadian government is contemplating restrictions on birth tourism after a

Chinese newspaper reported women there are using Canada to flaunt their country’s

one-child policy and exploit Canadian immigration laws.

Because Canada gives anyone born in the country a passport, foreign parents can

also use their “anchor baby” to bypass immigration laws.

The recent Chinese newspaper report said “consultants” coach Chinese women how

to wear baggy clothing when they arrive in Canada and carry nothing that shows they

are expecting.

They might also learn how to apply for permits or even student visas.

About 200 “anchor babies” are born in Canada every year.

“We are aware of crooked consultants who encourage pregnant women to illegally

travel to Canada to give birth and gain access to Canada’s considerable benefits,”

Citizenship and Immigration spokeswoman Candice Malcolm told Postmedia News.

“We condemn the practice of circumventing our laws to game the system, leaving

Canadians taxpayers with the bill. This is unfair and not right.”

The government is considering introducing changes within the year.

The Toronto Sun discovered numerous homes in Vancouver that act as “havens”

for Chinese women, charging them about $70 per day until they give birth


The Sun sent an undercover reporter to the home seeking information for relatives

from China.

The woman who answered the door denied running a “passport baby” office.

“I only promise myself to do legal thing. That’s all,” the woman, named Susan, said

through a Chinese translator. “Other people are not my business. I won’t give comments.”

Most of the women who use the services in Canada are wealthy Chinese women

looking to get around that country’s one-child policy, the Sun said.
Canada and the

United States are the only countries in the world that give babies born there passports.

In 2008, about 340,000 babies born in the US had at least one illegal immigrant parent,

MSNBC reported.

Only about 120 per year came from China, however, MSNBC said.

It also happens in Hong Kong, where mainland Chinese couples pay consultants

about $3,200 to help them give birth in the former British colony.

“We work like a travel agency,” Gordon Li told MSNBC. “The fee depends on the

client – whether they want to stay in a luxury hotel or a small hotel, etc.”

At least one immigration expert warned against changes, however.

Immigration lawyer Richard Kurland said any changes could change how

Canadians parents apply for passports for their children.

“There are a couple of hundred passport babies born annually in

Canada out of our 200 million visits per year,” he said. “To clamp down

on those several hundred, the government is going to require Canadians

to re-apply for their Canadian citizenship to get a passport. ... That won’t

do away with a couple of hundred  passport babies a year, but it will do

away with the privacy of 33 million Canadians.”


Financial Post

Why is Canada keeping out China’s rich?

Tim Shufelt Mar 2, 2012 – 7:16 PM ET

Masses of wealthy Chinese, their money huddled in less-than-secure foreign assets,

are yearning to breathe the free air of Canadian

capitalism. But Canada doesn’t seem to want them much.

Brimming with the spoils of a historic economic expansion, Chinese

millionaires by the tens of thousands wish to make Canada home

for their families and their private wealth.

The Canadian immigration system has a program in place to grant rich

foreigners permanent resident status, provided they first

hand over a six-figure sum to the federal government.

By almost all accounts, that program is broken. It’s rife with delays, an

enormous backlog of files and misallocation of funds — all

providing fodder to critics who characterize the Federal Investor Immigrant

Program (FIIP) as a cash-for-visa scheme that enriches

banks while providing little benefit to the country.

Two years ago, the federal government suspended the program, then

reinstated it with double the financial requirements and a cap

on new applications of just 700 a year.

Would-be immigrants filed their submissions to an intake office in Sydney,

N.S., beginning July 3. The quota was reportedly met

soon after the office opened in the morning. Of the 700 applicants, 697 were

from China. FIIP was then effectively shut down for another year.

Proponents of so-called “economic immigration” say Canada is forgoing billions

in foreign capital and untold economic growth by limiting the intake of rich



Canada approved 3,223 applications in 2010, representing a total of 11,715

people  including children and spouses. That’s a paltry figure in the context

of Canada’s annual immigration quota of 250,000, says Richard Kurland,

a  Vancouver-based immigration lawyer and policy analyst.

“It just makes sense to take their money and allow them to consume

Canadian goods and services at a time we need it most,” Mr. Kurland

said.  “They’re buying houses, they’re buying cars, they’re buying

consumer goods.” Just what finance ministers across the country are hoping

consumers start doing more of. The Li family (who asked that their real name not

be published) is one example of instant economic benefit. Since arriving in Montreal

through Quebec’s version of the immigrant investor program in 2005, the family

purchased a home in a wealthy suburb of the city, enrolled their son in a private

school, and acquired a hotel employing about 20 people. “I was considering my

son’s education and the fresh air, because he has asthma,” Ms. Li said.

Her concerns with pollution are shared by a growing number of Chinese elite, as

are fears of political instability, and security of their assets.

“We worked very hard on our business and we earn every penny. I don’t want

somebody to take it back,” she said, indicating the family made its money from a

electrical component manufacturing business. Poaching China’s wealthy is also a

short-cut to establishing economic ties with China, said Louis Leblanc, head of

immigrant investor programs at National Bank Financial. “Canada being a

resource-rich country dominated by exports, the beauty of this is  that you’re creating

golden bridges throughout the world with these wealthy families  coming into

Canada,” he said. In limiting new FIIP applicants, the federal government cited a

backlog of more than 15,000 files. But those familiar with Canada’s economic

immigration system say of equal concern is how immigrant money is distributed.

“The main issue is one of financial accountability,” Mr. Leblanc said. “It’s very hard

to figure out how the money is used under the FIIP.”

The program requires applicants to prove net wealth of at least $1.6-million, in

addition to an up front investment of $800,000 to the federal government, to be

refunded after five years without interest. Ottawa then distributes that money to

participating provinces, who are mandated with funding projects to create jobs and

subsidize economic development. The program generated about $680-million in

2010, about 40% of which went to Ontario, another 20% to British Columbia, and

the rest to the other provinces and territories. The link between incoming foreign

capital and funding for Canadian enterprises through the provinces is crucial to

the rationale behind the program. But the provinces have struggled to find ways

to appropriately invest this money.

“Some of the provinces aren’t really distributing it, they just hold it for five years,”

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said in an interview.

“Sometimes, they don’t even pretend to do anything with it. I think Ontario’s

sitting on $80-million or more of investor immigrant funds. They haven’t even

set  up the pretense of a dedicated purpose for those funds,” he said.

Ontario says it has made recent improvements to its program, signing an

Agreement with Infrastructure Ontario, loaning the agency $149.2-million for

 34 projects that generated almost 5,000 jobs. Another $34.7-million funded

emerging technologies through the Innovation Development Fund.

Mr. Kenney called that use of funds “notional,” merely “offsetting their interest

costs for five years for that money.” That charge is one of many leveled by the

program’s critics. “I’m surprised they decided to cap it, it might be better to just

end it,” said Jeffrey Reitz, a sociologist at the University of Toronto who focuses

on immigration. “They’re basically buying visas. There’s little way around that.

And I think it strikes people as inappropriate. “That’s the reputation abroad, too.

That this is a way the Canadian government allows rich people to buy their way in.”

Some of the program’s biggest supporters, meanwhile, are participating financial

institutions, he explained. The $800,000 upfront loan flows through a facilitator

— typically a Canadian bank — then on to the federal government. But the vast

majority of investor immigrants opt for a financing program offered through the

banks, which front the loan requirement. The immigrant pays the bank a

fee, which can amount to $200,000 or more. “That’s the end of the obligation,”

said David Cohen, an immigration lawyer based in Montreal. “The applicant never

gets his money back. It cost him $200,000 to do this.” Banks also receive a commission

on each file, from which agents overseas charged with finding candidates earn

their own fee. “It’s a gold mine for the facilitators and for the agents,” Mr. Cohen

said. That system is partly to blame for the deluge of applications, Mr. Kenney said.

As is the relatively low financial requirements. While he says he still sees merits to

the investor immigrant program, the seemingly unlimited demand is indication that

the program is still priced too low, he said. “The program is underselling Canada.”

The failings of the federal program, however, shouldn’t stain economic immigration

altogether, Mr. Cohen said. “There’s no reason to throw out the baby with the bath

water.” Quebec’s program, which operates independently of the federal program, and

which isn’t subject to the cap, has established an effective system of distribution its

immigrant loans. “It works,” Mr. Cohen said. “It’s one of the few programs that

nobody bitches about in Quebec.” Through Investment Quebec, the banks recommends

grants to companies with net assets under $35-million seeking help with projects to

expand their business. The same kind of system could be applied federally through

the Business Development Bank of Canada, he said. Reducing the federal backlog need

not be a monumental problem, either. Raising the financial requirements again or

asking for a deposit could limit applicants to those serious about immigrating to

Canada. Alternatively, the federal government could consider simply ignoring the

backlog. Chinese millionaires with their minds set on Canada could reapply under

heightened financial requirements. “I can’t get excited about a backlog of

millionaires,  when they can easily access the front of the queue by paying

current market value,” Mr. Kurland said.

Once the federal government fixes the program’s failings, it can capitalize on the

economic potential of the elite exodus from China. A recent survey found that 60%

of China’s U.S. dollar millionaires, now numbering almost one million, intended to

or were in the process of emigrating.

“The day you’re convinced that passive economic immigration is of economic benefit,

why cap it?” Mr. Leblanc said. Undoubtedly, there are “millions of millionaires”

eager to relocate to Canada, Mr. Kenney said. But their role is limited in countering

skills shortages. “Lending the government $800,000 for five years doesn’t respond

to labour shortages and it doesn’t necessarily even respond to the broader demographic 

challenges,” he said. But economic integration is becoming a global reality. More and

more western countries are courting the wealthy of the developing

world through their own programs, of which Canada is a pioneer. Already, the

United States, Britain and another of other developed countries have already

followed Canada’s lead. Canada will lose out at its own game if it doesn’t get the

FIIP in shape, Mr. Leblanc said. “Over the next two years, you’ll have at least half

a dozen new countries going after the very upwardly mobile wealthy individuals who

want access to new citizenship.”











Kenney pushes greater private sector role in immigrant selection


Minister warns Alberta, B.C. provincial nominee program needs reform






Jason Kenney, Canada's Minister of Immigration and Citizenship.

Photograph by: Peter J. Thompson/National Post/Files , National Post

OTTAWA - Immigration Minister Jason Kenney raised the spectre

of European-style tensions over multiculturalism in Canada

Thursday while proposing measures to boost the economic prospects

of new Canadians.

His proposals include a greater private sector role in immigrant

selection and, in a move one immigration lawyer said would be

controversial, more emphasis on the English or French proficiency

of immigrants’ spouses. He also elaborated on his recent warning

to provincial governments such as Alberta and British Columbia that

he won’t expand the provincial nominee program until that program

is reformed.

“If we can improve the economic outcomes of immigrants, debates

over the degree of their social integration would virtually disappear,”

Kenney said in a speech in Toronto.

Kenney also said the steps the government has taken to improve the

“integrity” of the immigration and refugee system are essential.

“We don’t have to look very far to see what happens when that integrity

is undermined,” he said.

“It’s happened across Europe and even to some extent in the United

States, where public support for the entire immigration system has fallen

after widespread illegal migration and consequent abuse of public

resources have gone unchecked. “I never want to get to that point.”

Kenney, after noting the comparatively poor performance of immigrants

in recent decades, said he is considering proposals to adjust the points

system for skilled workers to put greater emphasis on youth with “high

quality credentials.”

Applicants with Canadian work and study experience and trades skills

should also move closer to the front of the line, he said.

The minister said the federal government will also look at giving preference

to applicants with a direct job offer, resulting in the private sector getting a

much larger role in the federal skilled worker program.

Kenney said he will reject recent appeals from such provinces as B.C. and

Alberta for a higher quota from the provincial nominee program until that

system is reformed.

He cited the successes of the program, noting that 26 per cent of current

economic immigrants go to provinces other than the traditional destinations

of B.C., Ontario and Quebec, compared to 11 per cent in 1997.

But he said provincial nominee immigrants tend to do worse than nominees

under the federal foreign skilled worker program because Ottawa puts more

emphasis on language skills.

Kenney also said the provincial programs are in some cases duplicating

federal programs, and also expressed concerns about provincial nominee

“integrity” due to nominees arriving in one sponsoring province and then

quickly moving to another.

“We will not consider increasing a province’s allocation under the PN program

until it demonstrates that its PN program is directly responsive to labour market

needs and does not overlap with federal family reunification or investment


NDP immigration critic Don Davies said Kenney exaggerated the government’s

progress on reducing immigration backlogs and said the minister has failed to

substantially improve the ability of immigrant professionals to get their

credentials recognized.

Davies also said Kenney is allowing far too many low-wage temporary foreign


Immigration lawyer Richard Kurland praised Kenney’s proposed moves, saying

a more “nimble” system that lets the private sector play a bigger role is replacing

the old “supertanker” model.

“The policy driver behind these changes is simple,” he said in an email.

“Today, fundamental design change is being driven by common sense backed

by hard data. In the past, it was more about politics and lobbyists and that was

the recipe that led to undisclosed government policy decisions like curtailing the

processing of parents and grandparents, unfair processing times, and ballooning

backlogs across the board.”

But Kurland said a move to a British-style requirement that spouses should speak

one of the official languages will cause a stir.

And he said Kenney will also cause provincial governments some grief by pushing

them out of the investor recruitment field, demanding tougher language

requirements and perhaps setting up monitoring programs to ensure immigrants

don’t immediately leave the province that’s sponsored them soon after arrival.

Fraser Institute economist Herb Grubel, a prominent critic of the system, said

allowing companies to play a bigger role in selection will improve immigrants’


But he had some words of warning.

“Will there be a minimum level of pay the employers have to offer? We do not

want to be flooded by unskilled workers whose incomes are low,” he wrote in an


Fraudulent job offers is another concern.

“The employers and immigrants should be required to submit to Ottawa frequently

evidence of the pay the workers received and taxes they paid,” Grubel argued.

“Stiff penalties need to be attached to violations, including the threat of removal

of the violators.”

Former senior Canadian diplomat James Bissett, a director with the Centre for

Immigration Policy Reform, said Kenney is helping to fix a “broken” system.

“But the fundamental question is, why do successive governments continue to

insist Canada needs 250-275,000 immigrants every year?” he asked.

“Most serious economic studies show that immigration has little positive impact

on a country’s economy prosperity.”






Greeks line up to start new lives in Canada


Austerity measures and grim prospects at home force many in

Greece to look overseas




2012      2:20 AM




Former restaurateur George Varvarigos has started a new

career in auto sales in Toronto after immigrating from Greece

seven months ago. Varvarigos, 37, sold his share of a restaurant

and came to Canada with hopes for a better future. "Everybody

works hard for every daily expense ... and the bills they have to

pay," he said. "Nobody is lazy ... So they're fighters."

"[Canada] is a better environment with better chances for

people who would like to do something in their life, to have

a family, to have their job and to get paid for that and to look

straight to the future," he explained.

Members of Greek-Canadian communities say Varvarigos's

story is becoming familiar as an increasing number of Greek

residents inquire about job opportunities in Canada. They are

hoping to start a new life because of the financial uncertainty

in their homeland, which is on the brink of bankruptcy.

The EU approved its second bailout for Greece on Tuesday

worth $172 billion. To get the debt bailouts, Greece has

had to commit to unpopular austerity measures, which include

tax increases and deep cuts to pensions, public-sector wages

and the country's minimum wage.

Greece's unemployment rate hit a record 20.9 per cent in

November, compared to 10.4 per cent for the 17 countries

sharing the euro. The number of young Greeks without work

is closer to 40 per cent. The crisis prompted thousands of

protesters angry at punishing spending cuts to pour into

Athens' central Syntagma Square on Wednesday as

lawmakers rushed to pass laws needed to secure the latest

bailout. With these economic prospects, new immigrants

are increasingly attracted to Canada's economic engines.

"Since this crisis occurred we've heard from a lot of professionals

who are frustrated and can't find employment in Greece.

They want to know what the job conditions are like in

Vancouver and how do they go about applying to come

here," said Peter Kletas, a Vancouver lawyer and president of

the Hellenic Community of Vancouver, a group that serves

the local Greek community. In the past six months, Kletas

said the society has seen the number of phone calls to its

office from Greek nationals looking to migrate rise from an

average of one to two per week to two to three a day. "They

are sending us their CVs and everything, thinking we can get

them work," he said. Kletas said not since the post-war era of

the 1950s and 60s has B.C., and Canada, seen such interest

from Greek nationals in migration. "A lot of them want a

better way of life for their families. That is what we are hearing,"

he said.

John Yannitsos, president of the Hellenic Society of Calgary,

said a few dozen Greek residents have been arriving in

Calgary on a weekly basis recently. Most are Greek citizens

with Canadian relatives. There are also some Canadian citizens

who had been living in Greece and are now starting to return,

he said. Inquiries from Greek residents are skyrocketing, he

said, noting it's come to a point where they arrive daily.

"You can sense the desperation in their voices and in the

inquiries," he said. "[They say] 'can you help us with

opportunities? How can we get there? We'll take our chances

when we get there.'"

But moving here isn't easy. Mario Bellissimo, an immigration

lawyer in Toronto, said many professionals looking to make

the move to Canada don't qualify to migrate unless they've

secured a Canadian employer. People with experience

and education in one of 29 federally recognized occupations,

including nurses, psychologists, industrial electricians and

welders, are eligible to apply as skilled workers. But that

list is so narrow, and the numbers accepted capped, "that

it doesn't tend to be an option that is very fruitful for many

people, not just from Greece, but around the world," said


But Vancouver lawyer and immigration analyst Richard Kurland

said Greece could likely prove a "prime recruiting zone"

for human resources professionals looking for a ready supply

of workers in occupations where there is a looming shortage.

By 2020, there will be an estimated 61,500 more jobs in the

province than workers to fill them, according to B.C.'s

most recent Labour Market Outlook, and that has the province

relying on newcomers to fill a third of all job openings within

a decade.

New Toronto resident Roula Loukaki says it was when the

tourists stopped buying that she and her husband decided

to close their decade-old, family-run gift shop in Greece.

Born in Toronto, Loukaki moved to Greece with her family

when she was nine years old. In her late 30s, Loukaki

returned to Canada in early February. "It's a difficult decision

but we want a better life," she said. "We thought, let's just try

something else because we don't see any future there," she said.

She says her friends and young people in Greece are considering

moving to Canada, Australia or other European countries, such as


Although there hasn't been a large immigration wave from

Greece in Toronto yet, the return of "bold expats," such as

Loukaki, also will include individuals who are single, unattached

and Canadian-born who are "coming back to their roots,"

said videojournalist Trifon Haitas, who was born in Greece

and works with Toronto's Greek media.


© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun






SUN TV:  Richard Kurland

Human Smuggling:   http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/video/search/kurland/human-smuggling/983865154001

June 8, 2011 18:25   From The Caldwell Account

SUN TV:  Richard Kurland     


Smuggling Surprise:  http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/video/search/kurland/smuggling-surprise/995418456001

From Byline   June 15, 2011 21:13

SUN TV:  Richard Kurland      A FAVOURITE!!!!

Driving Nude:  http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/video/search/kurland/driving-nude/1039425761001


July 5, 2011 17:32
From Canada Live


Bending Far:    http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/video/search/kurland/bending-far/1141170492001

September 2, 2011 20:24
From Daily Brief



Immigration Change:   http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/video/search/kurland/immigration-change/1231424881001

October 21, 2011 19:34
From Daily Brief

Historic Fraud Sweep:   http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/video/search/kurland/historic-fraud-sweep/1320513728001
December 10, 2011 15:32
From Sun News Network


Immigration fraudsters exploit 

new rules, report says


Federal anti-fraud unit finds 22 per cent of Chinese applicants

misrepresented credentials


OTTAWA - New federal immigration rules passed in 2008 to make the system 

more streamlined and “responsive” to Canadian economic needs were exploited 

by Chinese fraudsters,according to newly released internal documents.

The Conservative government quickly confirmed that the documents, 

obtained by immigration lawyer Richard Kurland, reflect an ongoing 

problem that needs to be tackled. An official acknowledged concerns with 

bogus applications, particularly those relating to the arranged offer of 

employment (AEO) program.


“We are aware of this issue and are concerned,” said Candice Malcolm, 

spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.

“That is why we are currently reviewing options to strengthen the AEO process 

to prevent this fraud from taking place in the future.”

She added that the Harper government has “done more than any government 

in Canadian history to crack down on all types of immigration fraud and 

strengthen the integrity of Canadian citizenship.” The documents underline a 

problem that is of particular concern to B.C., since close to a third of permanent 

residents allowed into Canada are from China.


Kurland said the documents show that understaffed Canadian 

missions in certain countries aren’t able to contain the pressure

from applicants who misrepresent themselves. “It’s China, it’s Pakistan, 

it’s Africa, and it’s because some countries of the world do not have 

western democratic institutions issuing reliable paperwork. 

It’s that simple,” said Kurland, who obtained the documents 

through the Access to Information Act. Canadian officials have “opened their 

eyes and they see the problem. The question is, what are they going to do about 

it, if anything?” Kurland said the ongoing fraud problem could be handled by 

putting greater emphasis on recruiting skilled foreigners already in Canada 

under the Temporary Foreign Workers program.


Bill C-50, passed in 2008 under former minister Diane Finley, was intended to 

let the government set priorities in its selection of economic immigrants to 

ensure emphasis on particular skilled workers needed by Canadian businesses.

But one study of skilled worker applicants from Hong Kong during the 

2008-10 period, involving applicants claiming those skills who allegedly had 

AEOs, found that only 22 per cent had genuine jobs in Canada and many had 

“very low” English-speaking skills. “There are serious problems with the validity 

of job offers” in the AEO category, wrote the authors of the analysis.


The Canadian government’s anti-fraud unit in Beijing, meanwhile, did an analysis 

that found that, of applications between late 2008 and early 2010, more than 

one in five (22 per cent) of applicants misrepresented their own employment records.

The greatest abusers were supposed “financial auditors and accountants,” as 

42 per cent of them were lying about their credentials and were in many cases 

merely cashiers or bookkeepers. Another above-average category was financial 

managers, with 27 per cent of applications being fraudulent.


“Employment fraud is an issue on certain profiles of C-50 applications,” stated a 

summary of the report that considered applications for workers headed primarily 

to Ontario. “A more thorough verification process is required.” Another 2010 study 

of applicants from Taiwan found that of 31 AEO applicants, the vast majority

headed for B.C., only five — or 16 per cent of the total — actually took jobs with 

the employers that made the offers.


Kurland’s documents pinpointed another fraud concern unrelated to 

C-50, involving  the 275 or so applications for dependent children each 

year under the family class  category. The analysis noted that it is “common 

practice” for Chinese couples who  have emigrated to Canada to return to China to 

have children, then go back to  Canada when their kids reach school age. The 

authors noted that there are persistent  reports in China about children trafficking, 

raising the possibility that Canada’s system could be exploited by child-traffickers. 

The study found that five per cent of the cases studied involved confirmed or 

suspected fraud, though the report doesn’t indicate whether the children involved 

were trafficked. “The exercise indicated that there is a significant risk of abuse” 

of the child  application program, the report stated. “In response the family class 

unit has raised evidentiary requirements for this caseload.” B.C., long a magnet 

for Chinese immigration, attracted 9,317 of the 30,197 permanent residents from

that country in 2010, according to government statistics.

Of the 17,934 Chinese students entering Canada in 2010, 6,061 went to B.C.





© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal



Immigration officials 

admit failure to stop 

residency fraud





Canadian passport.(QMI Agency files)

OTTAWA - Canadian immigration officials admit their refusal rate for 

Canadian residency applications at the embassy in Abu Dhabi in the 

United Arab Emirates "should have been higher."

That's the conclusion of a 2010 quality assessment report unearthed 

by an Access to Information request provided to QMI Agency.

The embassy in Abu Dhabi handles visa applications from the Emirates 

as well as other Gulf countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Officials say foreign nationals working in Gulf countries have been 

able to obtain Canadian residency using fraudulent sponsors who 

"go to great lengths to try and convince visa officers that they are 

residing in Canada when in fact they are not."

The report notes the motive is money because highly skilled workers, 

such as engineers and nurses from Canada and other western countries, 

get double the salary of other foreign nationals doing the same work.

"An Indian national working in Kuwait will receive a significant salary

 increase if he acquires a British passport," noted the report.

Immigration lawyer Richard Kurland sees another problem.

"If there's instability in that Middle East country Canada historically

 will pay to bring to safety Canadian residents - permanent residents," 

said Kurland. "So, it's a cheap insurance policy paid for by the people 

of Canada for non-residents."

Kurland says the consequences aren't tough enough for fraudsters.

"The only sanction practically is non-renewal of their plastic (residency) 

card," he said. In an e-mail statement, immigration officials noted the 

government is cracking down on citizenship fraud.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney refused comment.






Ottawa cracks down on diplomats fleeing toppled regimes


FIRST POSTED: THURSDAY, DECEMBER 08, 2011 07:44 PM EST bordergraphic091211TORONTO - Ottawa is cracking down on former government leaders from toppled Middle East regimes who 

may be trying to flee to Canada by using the diplomatic passports of their countries, classified documents 

warn. Canadian border agents nationwide have been alerted to take a closer look and question travellers 

entering the country with diplomatic passports because they may be trying to claim political asylum or seek refuge. Canadian police and intelligence officials are concerned that top political leaders and their families 

from countries rocked or toppled during the Arab Spring that includes Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, 

Algeria, Syria and others may try to use the documents to escape to safety here. An operational 

bulletin - number PRG-2011-19 - was issued by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) 

last April 18 to front-line officers and was obtained through an Access of Information request 

by lawyer Richard Kurland“Due to recent developments in the Middle East, the Traveller Primary 

Unit in the Border Programs Division has reviewed the processing of persons who have self-identified 

as diplomats,” the bulletin said. “The reviews indicated that there is a need to clarify the procedures 

for the questioning and processing of such persons.” Officers were told that diplomatic passports are 

acceptable documents for foreign nationals seeking to travel here as temporary residents. The memo 

alerted officers that some diplomats may require visas to enter Canada and would likely be travelling 

“to attend a conference or for tourism.” It said accredited foreign representatives can also bring their 

families and household when they move. “A diplomatic passport is a free pass for anyone who 

want to board a plane for Canada,” said Kurland. “Entire former governments can arrive by 

using diplomatic passports and claim they are here for a meeting.” Kurland said he won’t be 

surprised if toppled Arab ex-leaders, their families or senior staff are caught trying to slip 

into the country. ”A lot of former government officials from previous regimes are jumping 

ship,” he said. “They have lost control and there are new leaders in place.” Kurland said 

the days of free and unchallenged travel by diplomats to Canada are gone. “That ship sailed 

during the Arab Spring,” he said. “The government is no longer taking these people (diplomats) 

at face value.” Toronto immigration lawyer Guidy Mamann said the CBSA is not only targeting war 

criminals and street thugs, but even diplomats. “The agency is leaving no stone unturned due to the 

vulnerability of the situation in the Middle East,” Mamann said. “It appears there may have been a 

spike in the number of people coming here with diplomatic credentials.” The measure also affects 

diplomats arriving in Canada by private aircraft who can normally register to CBSA officials by phone. 

They now have to undergo more stringent checks. More than 45 members of the foreign diplomatic 

corps have sought refugee status in Canada in the last three years after arriving as representatives 

of their home countries, government statistics show. More than 40 refugee claims from foreign diplomats were filed from Sept. 2009 to Sept. 2010.






Vancouver Sun launches new Chinese-Language website Taiyangbao.ca






A screengrab of Taiyangbao.ca, a comprehensive Chinese-language website offering the latest in local and international news and files from prominent writers and leaders from the community and around the world.

Photograph by: Screengrab, Handout

The Vancouver Sun is launching a comprehensive 

Chinese-language website offering the latest in local 

and international news and files from prominent writers 

and leaders from the community and around the world.

Taiyangbao.ca -- or "Sun newspaper" -- combines the 

resources of Western Canada's largest newsroom, a 

wealth of national and international content from Agence 

France Presse's Chinese-language division, and a 

growing network of local and international bloggers. 

In addition to breaking news,c features health, sports, 

lifestyle, fashion, entertainment, food, cars, real estate, 

business and immigration news, trends and features -- 

all delivered in simplified and traditional Chinese 

language characters, to better serve one of B.C.'s 

fastest-growing demographics.

A key feature on the site is Vancouver immigration 

lawyer Richard Kurland's Lexbase publication and 

blog, which provides an in-depth guide to immigration 


"We're proud of this initiative, the most comprehensive 

Chinese-language product in The Sun's 100-year 

history," said Paul Bucci, The Vancouver Sun’s 

deputy managing editor, digital. "We know it will bring 

The Vancouver Sun's great content to an even greater 

number of avid news readers and advertisers in our 


Taiyangbao’s readers will be encouraged to follow 

breaking news and join the conversation on various 

social media sites including Facebook at www.facebook.com/taiyangbao 

and Twitter @taiyangbao.

The site's blog network includes the following 

writers and community leaders:


Wai Lam Cheung: Chinese community food critic, 

former editor for Ming Pao Daily News in Vancouver.

Judy Hsu: National Public Relations associate, 

formerly with BC Centres for Disease Control.

Richard Kurland: Vancouver lawyer & immigration 


Jerry Li: President of the Canada-China Society of 

Science and Technology and SFU communications 


Stephanie Li: Hong Kong University graduate 

journalism student.

Elisa Qiu: Hong Kong University graduate journalism 


Lydia Tsui PR assistant manager at CNN 

International and freelancer with Prime business 


Kenneth Tung Kwantlen Polytechnic University 

board member, former vice-chair & chair of 

S.U.C.C.E.S.S., AM 1320 talk show host.

Yichun (Cherry) Yu Hong Kong University graduate 

journalism student and a former reporting intern at 

People’s Daily in Beijing.

Brian Yap Kwantlen Polytechnic University journalism 


Henry Yuen Wine critic.

Stephanie Yuen Food critic, co-founder of Chinese 

restaurant awards in Vancouver.

Sgt. Terry Yung Vancouver Police Department 

officer and S.U.C.C.E.S.S. board member.

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun



Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Vancouver+launches+Chinese+Language+website+Taiyangbao/5815946/story.html#ixzz1fleQLhZc





Some immigrants faking language tests, officials


Last Updated: November 15, 2011 8:39pm



TORONTO -- Federal immigration officials are targeting 

unscrupulous immigrants who are paying big

bucks for fake certificates that show they have mastered 

English or French tests required to come to Canada. The 

fraudulent language tests were first detected among immigrants 

applying to come here from Indonesia and Timor-Leste, according 

to a report from a Canadian visa officer in Indonesia Some Toronto

lawyers claim a number of tradespeople and immigrants find the 

standardized International English Language Testing System 

(IELTS) difficult and have to write the test twice or three times to

pass Immigrants are required to have a working knowledge of 

either of the official languages before they're allowed to come to 

Canada as permanent residents "Fraud exists primarily with 

language testing," the officer told Ottawa of the high failure 

rate. "Candidates for immigration to Canada must demonstrate that

they have a solid knowledge of English or French. The officer said 

the fraud is being looked into and some applicants submit 

questionable paperwork to try and obtain a visa "Often IELTS 

fraud ... is suspected by our office," the visa officer said. 

"Financial statements, such as bank letters and accounting reports, 

are not reliable. The officer warned "unreliable civil documents 

and financial statements make the screening of legality of 

net worth a challenge. Canadian immigration lawyer Richard Kurland, 

who obtained the report, said the language testing fraud has 

spread from Indonesia to other countries "The fraud range goes 

from the wrong people taking the test to hacking into the system 

to change grades," Kurland said on Monday.




Gangs a threat to refugee kids

Surrey: Mayor Watts adamant immigrant fees are pushing youth toward 

lawlessness and criminality





Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts is warning the federal government that about 500 Surrey 

kids are at risk of being recruited into gangs because of fees being charged to 

vulnerable refugee parents. She told a meeting of The Province’s editorial board on 

Wednesday that the fees, which can run into tens of thousands of dollars, put kids 

at risk of recruitment because normal support systems are not available from the 

hard-pressed adults in their families. “Some kids need more help than others so 

they don’t end up joining gangs,” Watts said. “Of particular concern is the refugee 

population in Surrey. “Typically, the kids can’t read or write, have lived in refugee 

camps and been witness to violence,” she said. “The parents do menial work. Their 

13-year-old is at the age to join Grade 8 even though he has never been to school 

before. “These kids are off the scale in terms of their risk of being recruited by 

a gang. It’s a real concern. The recruitment goes on in schools. If I’m a gangbanger, 

I’m going to pick a refugee kid,” she said. “The kids have no tools and they’re in 

survival mode, so guess what’s going to happen.” Officials with Citizenship and 

Immigration Canada told The Province that individual refugees may be responsible 

to repay up to $10,000 per person under the Immigrant Loans Program to 

cover the costs of medical examinations abroad, travel documents and transportation 

to Canada. “The maximum amount of the loan the refugee would pay is $10,000, 

as there’s a cap,” said a CIC official. “Loans in excess of that amount are paid for 

by the IOM [International Organization for Migration]. So the refugee pays zero 

dollars to $10,000, then IOM would pay the remainder if it’s over $10,000.


“The global repayment record is over 90 per cent.”

Watts said the federal government has refused her request to drop the refugees’ 

transportation charges. “The feds told me, ‘We’re keeping it,’” she said.


Refugees’ participation in criminal activity is not just a theoretical concept.

Police sources say one of the suspects in a wild jewelry store shootout at Oakridge 

Mall last year was a ­juvenile-aged refugee who had just arrived from a camp in Africa.

Three teens were charged with armed robbery in the incident. Surrey Coun. Judy 

Villeneuve said it’s wrong for a country as rich as Canada to seek repayment from 

penniless refugees. “For me, it’s a moral issue,” said Villeneuve. “Many of these 

people have been in war camps for 10 to 20 years — when they come here, they have 

no money, no resources. “In one of the wealthiest countries in the world, we should 

not be asking the poorest of the poor to pay back that money.” Villeneuve said 

the Union of B.C. Municipalities and Federation of Canadian Municipalities have officially 

appealed to the federal government to stop demanding repayment.


Immigration lawyer Richard Kurland has a novel solution — have Canadians 

donate their frequent-flyer points — so the Canadian government wouldn’t 

have to pay in the first place and the refugees wouldn’t have to pay it back.

“It really depends on the size of the family — if they’re coming from China 

where there’s a one-child family, it’s not so bad. “But if it’s a family from 

Somalia with eight kids, that money won’t get paid back.”


Surrey is the primary destination for government-assisted refugees in Metro 

Vancouver, with 33 per cent of the total number arriving there. The five largest 

refugee groups who have wound up in Metro Vancouver to escape persecution are 

from Afghanistan, Myanmar (Burma), Iraq, Iran and Somalia.







Feds opening Canada to more foreign grandparents, parents



The federal Tory government is introducing a new "super visa" designed to bring more 

parents and grandparents into Canada, and faster. Immigration Minister Jason 

Kenney revealed the new plan Friday to let 10,000 more parents and grandparents 

into the country each year - to a total of 25,000 - by way of a new multiple-entry 

10-year "super visa" that will permit stays of up to two years at a time. Currently, of 

about 40,000 parents and grandparents who apply to visit their children and 

grandchildren in Canada each year, about 17,000 get in. "We need to change the math," 

Kenney said. The new super visa is expected to speed up processing times and reduce 

backlogs, "making it easier for parents to visit." The current wait time for Family 

Class sponsorship applications for parents and grandchildren is more than seven years.


Kenney's super visa announcement for parents and grandparents comes on the heels 

of a report released Thursday by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute in Ottawa, suggesting 

Canada's increasingly aging population could lead to a debt crisis here similar to what 

Greece is now facing when baby-boomers retire en masse and increase demand on 

public spending.  But Richard Kurland, a Vancouver-based immigration lawyer, 

does not believe an influx of elderly visitors will result in large numbers of 

foreigners attempting to draw on Old Age Security pensions. Such a concern is 

"not supported by the data," he said, explaining that "at that stage of your life" 

most visitors want to return to their own countries. "In many cases parents 

have their own lives." He noted certain requirements must be met before a 

person can receive a public pension in Canada. "Just because you're here, 

doesn't mean you get it."



© Copyright (c) Surrey Now






eases immigration to allow more foreign students

By KIM PEMBERTON, Vancouver Sun November 2, 2011

Korean student Dennis Yim is studying in Vancouver. Yim hopes to stay in Canda 

after he is done school.

Photograph by: Ward Perrin, PNG


Canada is expanding the number of international students granted permanent resident 

status, while also making it easier for foreign PhD students to gain status through a 

new federal immigration initiative announced Wednesday. The announcement was 

welcomed by Dennis Yim, a Korean international student who wants to stay in Canada 

after he graduates next month from Vancouver Community College.


Citizenship and Immigration is set to welcome 7,000 temporary skilled workers and 

international students through the Canadian Experience Class program next year — the 

largest influx since its launch in 2008. The CEC allows those studying in Canada, as 

well as skilled professionals here on temporary foreign worker permits, to jump the 

queue and obtain permanent residency more quickly and without having to return

to their home country to fill out an application. “I love Canada but sometimes I think 

they ask too much in order to have permanent residency status. I just want them 

to make it easier,” said the 21-year-old Yim, who has been studying business at 

VCC for nearly six years. Yim said one of the requirements for him to stay in 

Canada is to have a job in management, which can be difficult to achieve when 

starting out in the workforce. “If they don’t make it easier they will lose students,” 

he said.


As part of the new and expanded initiatives announced Wednesday, the government 

will start accepting 1,000 international PhD students a year as permanent residents 

through the Federal Skilled Worker Program as those students have a tendency not 

to qualify under CEC. As of Friday, students who’ve completed at least two years of 

a PhD program and remain in good academic standing at a provincially recognized 

post-secondary institution will be able to apply. The decision to increase the 

number of students accepted is a good “first step,” said Vancouver 

immigration lawyer Richard Kurland. “It’s the right direction at the right time 

and long overdue. It’s one small step in a longer journey. You need young 

educated people and to revise old [immigration] policies. We can cream off 

the very best by targeting the students. Other countries might claim we’re 

in the brain drain game but too bad, that’s global competition,” said Kurland.

He pointed out it’s expected there will be a labour shortage in three years 

so taking steps to encourage international students to remain in Canada 

makes sense. “They are already living here. They know Canadian values 

and understand work and paying taxes. We need to be encouraging young 

students to upgrade from temporary to permanent [residency] status,” he 


Kurland added one of the unnecessary hurdles is requiring students to leave 

the country in order to apply for permanent residency.

“It’s archaic. What’s the difference between sending in an application from 

overseas and mailing it within Canada,” he said.

with files from Postmedia News


© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun






Saturday Nov. 5, 2011   8:26 PM PT

A young Australian woman living in B.C. for almost five years is facing deportation after 

her Canadian fiancé's sudden death from liver cancer.

Julie Andrews came to Canada to enjoy life in the mountains and study nursing at the 

College of the Rockies in Cranbrook. Then in 2008, she fell head-over-heels in love with 

David Grigat. "I met someone and he just got me. We got each other," Andrews told CTV 

News. The pair got engaged and David signed on to sponsor his wife-to-be in her bid to 

become a permanent resident. "Everything was going to plan. We knew it would take a 

long time and we understood that you had to do the paperwork and cross all your t's and 

dot your i's," Andrews said. But in the spring, David was diagnosed with liver cancer and 

died within weeks. It was a terrible blow for Andrews, made much worse when 

Citizenship and Immigration Canada declined her visa application and closed her file.

"I seem to be on a losing streak," she said, choking back tears. Immigration officials have 

ordered her to pack up her belongings and return to Australia or face deportation in the new 

year. Andrews has written letter after letter to the government, pleading for compassion.

"I am financially able to support myself. I wanted to go back to work. I've been in Canada 

almost five years and I feel it's my home. I own my own house, my friends are here, my family's 

here, my cat is here," she said. "David died, but this is still my home."

But officials are not budging, explaining that a sponsor is necessary to consider someone 

for permanent residency. "If circumstances change and the sponsor is unable to fulfill the 

undertaking, the application will be refused," CIC spokeswoman Jen Burkholder said in a 

statement. Friends in Fernie are incensed by Andrews' ordeal.

"I couldn't believe that such an injustice could be happening, when so many people are 

allowed to stay in Canada and they don't have nearly as much reason to be here as she 

does," Amanda Parker said.

Immigration lawyer Richard Kurland said Andrews' case "cries out for compassionate 

relief," but added that this sort of situation is all too common.

"Heartbreaking cases cause concern, not just at the level of the applicant, but 

individual immigration officers fret this type of situation. They can pass the 

buck up the food chain to the office of the minister, ensuring that justice and 

humanitarian relief is provided in deserving cases," he said.

"The minister is responsible for solving humanitarian issues that do arise when 

there's a death." But immigration officials say that Andrews doesn't qualify to stay 

under strict humane-compassionate grounds.

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Peter Grainger






Record number of Hungarian asylum-seekers landing on Canada’s doorstep

Tyler Anderson / National Post

“I wanted a safe environment; that was my first priority,” said Zoltan Kiss, a 29-year-old 

Hungarian Roma who landed at Pearson airport on Oct. 13. He said an Internet search told 

him Canada accepted newcomers and already has an established Roma community.


Kathryn Blaze Carlson  Nov 4, 2011 – 8:29 PM ET  

When Jason Kenney made a surprise appearance at a roundtable with Roma community 

leaders and asylum-seekers last weekend, the Citizenship and Immigration Minister 

wanted answers: What is driving the record, silent flood of Hungarian Roma refugee 

claimants streaming into Canada, and why are so many ultimately abandoning or 

withdrawing their claims? The meeting — and a Saturday night spent sitting in on 

immigration interviews at Toronto’s main airport, where an average of 17 Hungarians 

make claims each day — did little to solve the mystery of why a European Union 

country is Canada’s top source of refugee claimants, nor why only 2% of those 

claims were accepted last year, Mr. Kenney told the National Post in an interview 

this week.


A record number of Hungarian refugee claimants arrived at Pearson International 

Airport in September and October, with an unprecedented 91 asylum-seekers 

landing in a single day on Oct. 26, according to data obtained from the Canada 

Border Services Agency. When Mr. Kenney visited the airport last weekend, the 

answers to his first question were myriad: Canada is a safe, multicultural country. 

It has a quality health-care system and education is free. Economic opportunities 

abound. It is a “nice place to live.” Canada welcomes newcomers. It pays them 

welfare. And what of his question about the number of Hungarians who drop their 

claims? The process takes too long. Toronto’s bed-bug situation is insufferable.


“[Bed bugs] came up two or three times,” Mr. Kenney said, referring to the meeting 

at Toronto’s Roma Community Centre, where he listened through a translator as some 

of the two dozen claimants in attendance described their need for sanctuary. “I was 

told that a significant number of people are attached to sanitation, and found the 

bed-bug situation in Toronto intolerable.”

Mr. Kenney has long questioned the merits of claims put forth by members of the 

stateless ethnic group that says it still faces persecution by ultra-right-wing nationalists 

and neo-Nazi groups across Europe. Two years ago, he called Czech Roma claims 

“bogus,” and last year told the House of Commons that some Roma asylum-seekers 

are “coached to come to Canada, make a false asylum claim, and then register for 

provincial welfare benefits.” That bed bugs could evict from Canada someone supposedly 

fearing for their life, or that waiting a few months for a refugee hearing is a deterrent 

to staying safe in a free country, all but confirmed for the minister what he already 

thought: Many of the 2,298 claims filed last year are “not bonafide,” and the migration 

by Hungarian Roma is “very peculiar,” “bizarre,” and “very well-organized.”


“Asylum isn’t about whether you like the country you live in, it’s not about whether life 

is easy there or not, it’s not even about whether you might occasionally face discrimination,” 

he said. “If people are interested in Canada because they want to pursue a quality 

health care system, or economic opportunities, or they don’t like their country of 

origin, then I would invite them to apply through our immigration system like everyone 

else.” He also pointed out that Hungary is a member of the European Union, and 

citizens can now live and work freely in fellow member states. According to the United 

Kingdom Border Agency, for example, an EU citizen and members of his or her family 

can accept a job offer, become self-employed, start a business, or manage a company 

without asking permission or applying for refugee status. Still, in the first six months 

of this year, 1,600 Hungarians claimed refugee status in Canada — three times the 

number of Tamil asylum-seekers who arrived off B.C. aboard a smuggling ship last

 summer, amid much controversy and media frenzy.


Hungary is today Canada’s top source country for refugee claims, ahead of African 

and Asian nations, and the vast majority are believed to be Roma. The number of 

claims increased almost 100-fold after the country’s visa requirement was lifted in 

2008, with claims jumping from 34 in 2007 to 2,298 in 2010. Some 970 claims were 

withdrawn last year, and another 117 were abandoned because either the claimant did 

not show up to their hearing or they failed to inform the Immigration and Refugee Board 

of an address change. Only 22 of the 1,181 claims finalized last year were accepted.


When asked where the hundreds of Hungarians who abandoned their claims over the 

past three years might be, Paul St. Clair, a Roma resettlement worker, said, “Who 

knows, they could be underground or they could have left the country.”

He pegged the high withdrawal rate, in part, to people becoming discouraged — due 

largely to Mr. Kenney’s public statements that the Roma claims are mostly bogus.

The federal government has grappled to get a handle on Roma claims since the issue 

flared with a boom in Czech Republic claimants two years ago, when the government 

imposed a visa requirement on Czech citizens after 95 Roma landed at Pearson 

International Airport one June night. The number of Czech claimants has since dropped 

dramatically. The minister’s spokesperson has previously ruled out immediate plans 

for a Hungary visa requirement, but Mr. Kenney told the National Post “Canada always 

reserves the right to apply visas.” He said he would not comment on the government’s 

plans beyond that. His unexpected visit to the centre on Saturday marked his first 

official meeting with leaders of the community in Canada, the centre said in a statement. 

The meeting was apparently planned months ago, but centre executives and guests were 

expecting a half-dozen federal representatives — not the suit-clad, hands-on minister

himself. “He was here for about two hours, unannounced,” said Mr. St. Clair, who was 

the centre’s executive director for 10 years and who now counsels Roma newcomers at 

the affiliated CultureLink organization. “He was concerned with what to do about this 

group — about how this is impacting Canada — and not so much about their future.”


Richard Kurland, a Vancouver-based immigration lawyer and policy analyst, 

echoed Mr. Kenney’s skepticism, and chalks the flood of Hungarian Roma 

claims to “sheer abuse.” He said many Hungarian Roma asylum-seekers 

have “done a calculation on how much they can milk from the Canadian and 

provincial governments.”

Laszlo Balogh / REUTERS

A Roma woman carries her baby as she leaves her house in Alsozsolca, 200km 

northeast of Budapest. A large concentration of Hungary's Roma live in the 

northeast of the country. It sometimes takes several years for the refugee board to 

make a determination. In the meantime, refugee claimants are eligible for Interim 

Federal Health benefits — including emergency treatment for serious medical and 

dental conditions, immunizations, essential prescription drugs, contraception, and 

pre-natal care — as well as provincial assistance and education for their children.


“If you can toehold into Canada and get free medicare, education for your 

kids, and a welfare cheque until your refugee claim is disposed of,” he said, 

“and if it takes two or three years for claim to be disposed, then that’s 

pretty good.” He said that statement may no longer be true as of June, 2012, 

when the new refugee determination system is expected to speed up 

processing times.

According to a refugee board spokesperson, 1,446 of the 1,600 claims in the first six 

months of this year were made in Toronto, and many likely originated at Pearson 

airport. Sandy Mangat, a spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of Community and 

Social Services, said refugee claimants in Canada are eligible for various levels of 

assistance, as is true of all other applicants. A single Hungarian Roma, for example, 

would be eligible for a maximum of $592 monthly for basic needs and shelter, while 

a sole parent with one child under 12 or a couple with two children under 12 are 

eligible for $922 and $1,124 respectively.


Zoltan Kiss, a 29-year-old Hungarian Roma who landed at Pearson airport with a

 friend in the middle of the night on Oct. 13, told the National Post through a 

translator he was unaware Canada offered such health and welfare benefits. He said 

he plans to apply for provincial assistance and a work permit as soon as possible.

“I wanted a safe environment; that was my first priority,” he said, adding that an 

Internet search told him this country accepted newcomers and already has an 

established Roma community. “If I went somewhere else in Europe, I could not 

be so sure.”

Mr. Kiss, who said he saved up for his plane ticket for two years, said he did 

not want to jeopardize his claim or his family’s safety by discussing the persecution 

he said he suffered in Hungary, only to say, “I feared for my life.”

The Hungarian-speaking carpenter is living in a Toronto shelter and is taking English 

classes. He does not yet have a date for a refugee hearing.


National Post
• Email: kcarlson@nationalpost.com |




November 3, 2011

Changes to family reunification program would ease backlog


From Friday's Globe and Mail


Immigration Minister expected to restrict applications and allow more family members 

in annually


The Harper government is moving to restrict applications for a program allowing 

immigrants to bring their parents and grandparents to Canada - part of a plan to eliminate 

a massive backlog in this category that has people waiting eight years. But this is only 

part of what Immigration Minister Jason Kenney will announce on Friday at noon ET 

in Mississauga, immigration lawyers predict. Experts say they expect Ottawa will also 

increase the number of parents and grandparents admitted annually under this family 

reunification program. The waiting list is currently at more than 150,000 people.


The Immigration Minister's announcement will include details of a planned overhaul 

of the grandparents and parents portion of the program. Mr. Kenney will also announce 

that the Department of Citizenship and Immigration will hold consultations in early

2012 to solicit opinion from Canadians on how best to revamp the program.

The federal government each year receives about 40,000 applications from 

grandparents and parents of immigrants and admits only about 17,500. At the same 

time, the backlog grows by 13,000 to 14,000 annually. Mr. Kenney hinted at his plans 

at a Commons committee in late October, saying the two best ways to eliminate the

backlog of applicants are to cut the number of applications considered each year and 

to increase admissions. "Is the department going to have to issue directives limiting 

the number of new applications that we receive? I think that it is a solution that we 

have to consider," he told the Commons immigration committee last month.

Vancouver-based immigration lawyer Richard Kurland said he expects the 

Harper government will restrict applications and increase approvals as a 

solution to the backlog. "I think the only way out is going to be a Sound of 

Music solution, where 'When a door gets closed, somewhere, a window 

gets opened,' " Mr. Kurland said.

The immigration lawyer suggested Mr. Kenney could find a way to make it work.

"So even if applications are capped, the minister can direct that temporary visas 

be issued in order to bring families together until the backlog is processed."


Sources said consultations in 2012 will be used to seek ways to redesign the 

program to prevent future backlogs. All options are on the table, including different 

rules for who can sponsor parents and grandparents, or increases in the


amount of income required to support newcomers under the program, the sources said.

Mr. Kenney promised to address the backlog in the parents and grandparents class 

during the federal election campaign earlier this year. Parents often apply for 

permanent residence on the advice of Canadian visa officers after they are refused 

a visitor visa, lawyers say. Immigration lawyers say a more permanent solution to 

the backlog should include changing visitor visa rules. They say Ottawa should devise 

a way to allow parents of immigrants to visit without incurring the risk of a drain on

medicare if they fall ill while in Canada.

Mr. Kurland estimated that about 20 per cent of those parents and 

grandparents in the queue for permanent residency would withdraw their 

application if they could instead secure a long-term, multiple-entry visa that 

stipulated they cover their own health insurance in Canada. Canada expects to 

admit 254,000 immigrants this year in total.


The Globe and Mail Inc. All Rights Reserved. Permission granted for up to 5 copies. 

All rights reserved. 





Influx of Roma refugee claimants puts strain on airport staff

October 26th, 2011



TORONTO -- As many as 50 Hungarian Roma a day are filing refugee claims at 

Pearson airport, putting a strain on airport staff and medical services, according 

to border services officials. A record 110 claimants arrived at the airport one 

night last week, creating a challenge for immigration and security personnel working 

to process them, officers say. The Hungarian Roma are a stateless ethnic group 

that considers the name "Gypsy" derogatory. Entire Roma families, from babies 

to grandmothers, are getting off flights and claiming refugee protection at Pearson, 

alleging they're being persecuted by "skinheads or Neo-Nazis" in their homeland, 

border officers said. Frontline officers at Pearson said extra staff had to be called 

in last week when the 110 claimants landed. Staff worked throughout the night to 

process them before they were released to shelters or the care of family members.


Officers said many of the refugee seniors and children suffer from health issues and 

expressed concern they're placing a burden on the health-care system.

Hungarian citizens do not require a visa to travel to Canada and Hungary has been 

a leading source of refugee claimants in recent years, according to the Immigration 

and Refugee Board (IRB). Some 2,400 Hungarian refugee claimants were referred 

to the IRB for hearings in 2009. There were 2,300 in 2010 and about 2,500 from 

January to September of this year. About 23% of the claimants are accepted as 

refugees. Officials at the Canada Border Services Agency said Tuesday that they 

are looking into the issue. Gina Csanyi-Roban, executive director of the Roma 

Community Centre, said Toronto shelters are full and the newcomers are being 

housed in other communities. "These people are scared and running for their lives," 

Csanyi-Roban said on Tuesday. "Neo-Nazi groups are setting up training camps and 

committing violence against the Roma." She also said many are exploited or abused 

by others when they arrive here. Three families of 13 people, including two 

grandparents, were scammed of $270 in savings by a taxi driver who took them from 

the airport to an east-end shelter, she said, adding that driver then sped off.


"The Canadian government has been silent on the issue," Csanyi-Roban said.

"The problems will still be there even if a visa on Hungary is imposed."

Immigration lawyer Richard Kurland said Roma don't have to travel to 

Canada and can legally seek asylum in any European Union country.

"They don't have to remain in Canada," Kurland said. "They can return 

to any European country and legally work." Some CBSA officers said many 

Roma go underground in Canada rather than be deported to Hungary. Close to 700 

refugee cases have been abandoned by Roma in the last three years.





Suspect war criminal still avoiding extradition




MONDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2011 05:01 PM EDT


Arshad Muhammad, 42, was at a Mississauga hardware last summer when he was 

spotted by a Halton cop who notified authorities. He has been hiding in Canada since 



TORONTO - Public Safety Minister Vic Toews is looking at ways of deporting from 

Canada a suspected war criminal from Pakistan whose government does not want him 

back. “I am looking into this case,” Toews said on Monday of the deportation of 

Arshad Muhammad, who is accused of taking part in crimes against humanity. “It is 

a long-standing problem (obtaining travel documents) with both Pakistan and India.”


Toews said the case is being handled by immigration authorities and not the Canada 

Border Services Agency (CBSA), that posted mugshots of Muhammad and 29 others 

on a most-wanted website last July. Muhammad, 42, was at a Mississauga hardware 

last summer when he was spotted by a Halton cop who notified authorities. He has 

been hiding in Canada since 2002 after being refused refugee status and later appeals.


Muhammad was deemed inadmissible to Canada due to crimes against humanity. 

A ban on publication on his activities in Pakistan has been ordered by an Immigration 

and Refugee Board. He has been in detention for three months awaiting a travel 

document. Officials of the Pakistan consulate in Toronto said they require permission 

from Islamabad to issue a document. Members of the Pakistan High Commission in 

Ottawa also refused to comment on the deportation.


CBSA officers said Ottawa can pressure the Pakistani government to issue a travel 

document by witholding Canadian foreign aid or handouts to that country.

Immigration lawyer Richard Kurland said Ottawa can also stop issuing visas 

to Pakistan’s elite and wealthy residents who want to travel here.

“This has worked before with the governments of other countries,” Kurland 

said. “It will trigger political pressure by preventing Pakistan’s social elite 

from entering Canada.”

Muhammad was arrested after his identity was released by the CBSA after pressing 

by Sun Media. So far, six of the suspects have been arrested and four deported.

That success led to a second most-wanted list posted on a CBSA site, this time of 

32 foreign-born criminals who are hiding in Canada to avoid deportation. Seven of 

them have been arrested due to tips from the public. Two of them have been deported.

Authorities said people should not take any action to apprehend the suspects and 

should report information to the Border Watch Line at 1-888-502-9060.






Cut immigration applications to fix backlog, Kenney says



By Laura Payton, CBC News Posted: Oct 20, 2011 


Immigration Minister Jason Kenney appeared before a House of Commons 

committee on Oct. 20 to discuss immigration backlogs. 

(Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press) 


Kenney on immigration wait   7:42

Canada needs to accept fewer applications from people wanting to live here, Immigration 

Minister Jason Kenney says, and he's eyeing the family class for cuts.

Canada is facing too big a backlog and, despite accepting 254,000 applications every year, 

there are one million people who are waiting to hear whether they can move to Canada, 

the citizenship and immigration minister said Thursday. Canada gets about 420,000 

applications every year and refuses about 10 per cent of those. Speaking to the House 

committee on citizenship and immigration, Kenney said processing applications faster 

won't fix the backlog problem. And it isn't possible to accept enough people to deal 

with it either. The only options, he said, are to vastly increase acceptances, or take 

fewer applications and keep processing the ones already received. "Those are the only 

two possible solutions. It's a math problem," Kenney told reporters after the 

committee meeting.


Cut family class applications

Kenney pointed to the family class, under which parents and grandparents of Canadian 

citizens can immigrate. His department received 37,500 applications in 2010 but 

admits 18,500. Right now, there's a 10-year wait time for processing.

"Merely for us just to tread water, we would have to double the number of people 

coming into that program … and that wouldn't even reduce the backlog," he said.

Kenney said other countries require a minimal family income, private health insurance 

or a bond to limit parent and grandparent applications.

Immigration lawyer Richard Kurland said Kenney's right to suggest a cap on 

the parents and grandparents category. "Unless you solve the intake problem, 

you're going to have a growing backlog with growing processing times and

 it's time to bite the bullet," he told reporters after the committee meeting.

Kurland said a 20,000 cap is appropriate, and that the government should 

break the applicants into categories. "Bring in as priority one the single 

parents overseas. Priority two is you bring in parents where the families can 

pony up $75,000 up front to defray medicare costs, either with permanent 

resident visa on payment or [for $75,000] give that family a 10-year visitor 

visa to Canada and that way they can be here waiting until their number 

comes up in the immigration inventory overseas."

Speaking to Rosemary Barton on CBC's Power & Politics, Kenney called the $75,000 

payment "a very interesting idea." "I’ve heard similar ideas about asking people to 

share in a greater portion of the social and health-care costs. And maybe that’s one 

practical way of bringing more fairness while limiting the number of new applications 

so we can avoid the big backlogs. That’s a very valid idea," he said.


The Conservative government and previous Liberal governments averaged about 

18,000 parent and grandparent entrants a year, he added. Kenney says the 

department is launching consultations on cutting the backlog. NDP immigration critic 

Don Davies said reducing parent and grandparent applications is the wrong way to go.


"What I object to the most is the minister has come into this so-called study, these 

meetings, with a preconceived conclusion. The only policy tool that he's looking at is 

capping applications. Well, that's not the only policy tool available to the minister," 

Davies said. He wants Canada to accept another 100,000 immigrants every year, 

arguing a per capita measurement doesn't make sense because the country has 

so much space.




Cutting applications could solve immigration backlog: Minister

Amy Minsky, Global News/The West Block with Tom Clark : 

Thursday, October 20, 2011 6:08 PM


Photo Credit: Chris Wattie/Reuters ,  

OTTAWA -- Canada’s Minister of Immigration said the marathon wait times facing 

many people who want to immigrate to Canada is a simple math problem. 

In order 

to chip away at the backlog creating the wait, Jason Kenney said Canada might 

decrease the number of applications it accepts from people hoping to join their 

families in Canada. 

Because Canada is such a popular destination for would-be 

immigrants, the country is overwhelmed with applications that end up accumulating 

exponentially year after year, the minister told a House of Commons committee 


Canada on average has accepted 254,000 immigrants annually since 2006. 

Still, there are currently approximately one million people waiting to have their 

applications processed and assessed, the minister said. 

Kenney blames the 

quandary partly on the “good problem” of Canada’s reputation as a land of 

opportunity, and partly on the system the Liberals set up wherein an unlimited 

number of applications are accepted each year. 

Kenney said he predicts the problem 

might be resolved through a combination of decreasing the number of applications 

accepted and increasing admissions. 

“It will have to be a combination of both, 

because the volume (of applications) is so great,” the minister told reporters after 

the committee meeting. 

Canada accepts several categories of immigrants – family 

and economic among them -- each of which has a quota. 

“Last year we received 

38,000 applications for parents and grandparents. And this is at time when we’re 

trying to reduce the overall age of the population ,” he said, hinting that if any class 

of immigrant sees a decrease in the number of applications received, it might be 

the family category -- those looking to join their children, parents or spouses in 


Doing nothing could see wait times for applicants increase from the 

current 10 years to 20, he said. 

“That’s effectively keeping people from being 

able to reunite with parents. So reasonable choices have to be made, and 

I’m being transparent about that.” 

NDP MP Don Davies, however, said the 

minister’s words run contrary to his party’s behaviour. 

“Every single year since 

this government’s been in power, they have reduced the number of visas granted to 

parents, spouses, children and grandparents,” Davies said. “They always talk about 

Canada having the most generous immigration policy in the world per capita… It’s a 

fool’s game to compare Canada that way. We are the second-largest land mass in 

the world, with 34 million people. You don’t compare us to Germany or France.”

Cutting down on family reunification applications could be political suicide, 

but is necessary, said Richard Kurland, a policy analyst and immigration 

lawyer who spoke to the committee. 

Several backlogs have been fixed, 

but government officials haven’t touched the issue of reuniting families 

in a quarter of a decade, Kurland said. 

“That’s the bottom line here and 

if a minister is suggesting to cap intake on parents, that’s kissing the 

political third rail,” he said. “It’s the death card in immigration politics, but 

if this minister has the guts to do it, good on him…The minister says cap 

the parents. Well, he’s right,”




Tougher language exam proposed for citizenship

By Nicholas Keung

October 15, 2011

 The federal government is cracking down on the language competency of newcomers 

who apply for Canadian citizenship. In a government notice released Friday, Ottawa 

says multiple choice tests are no longer enough to demonstrate immigrants can speak 

one of the two official languages. It wants would-be citizens tested on their oral and 

listening skills. “The written test is an inadequate proxy for assessing language as it 

does not adequately assess listening and speaking skills . . . for effective communication 

with fellow Canadians and for effective integration,” wrote Nicole Girard, a Citizenship 

and Immigration Canada acting director general.


Currently, language competency is largely assessed through a multiple choice written 

test, which also evaluates an applicant’s knowledge of Canada, and the responsibilities 

and privileges of citizenship. If an applicant fails the test, the individual must satisfy 

a citizenship judge through an oral interview. The changes would affect applicants 

between the ages of 18 and 44, representing about 134,000 individuals a year.


Last year, the Conservative government tightened up the citizenship exam — 20 

multiple questions answered in 30 minutes — by raising the passing mark to 75 per 

cent from 60. The failure rate immediately skyrocketed from between four and 

eight per cent to 30 per cent. The proposed changes would require applicants to prove 

they meet the Canadian Language Benchmark level 4 descriptors such as “the ability 

to take part in routine conversations about everyday topics, use basic grammatical 

structures and tenses, have sufficient vocabulary. . . follow simple instructions.”


Immigration policy analyst Richard Kurland said the proposed language test 

can provide a standard measure of one’s language ability, but could 

inconvenience those born and raised in English and French. Since all skilled 

immigrants must pass mandatory language tests to qualify for permanent 

residency, Kurland said this group could use their old test result and be 

exempted from the new requirement for citizenship. Immigrant advocate 

Avvy Go said she appreciates that language proficiency can be a huge advantage 

for newcomers to flourish in Canada. “But the language requirement is going to 

be a barrier for some to fully participate in the society,” said Go. “Those who come 

here under family reunification or as refugees and are illiterate in their own language 

are going to be denied the opportunity to become full-fledged members of the 

society.” Immigrant lawyer Joel Sandaluk agrees. “What the government is trying 

to do here is to increase the value of citizenship by increasing the difficulty in 

obtaining it,” he said. “It is excluding people from the right to vote and (carry) 

passports based on the ability to communicate in English and French.” Citizenship 

applications cost $200 for adults and $100 for minors. One must have lived here 

for at least three years in the past four years to qualify. Current processing time 

is 19 months from the moment an application is received.


Mercury news services

This article is for personal use only courtesy of GuelphMercury.com

a division of Metroland Media Group Ltd.



October 9, 2011


Hungary tops asylum claims again in Canada

Sunday, 09 October 2011


An increase in the number of bogus claims by Hungarian asylum seekers is raising 

calls again for Hungarians to need a visa in order to travel to Canada.

Some 2,045 Hungarians filed refugee claims between January and August, the 

majority by Roma. But many cases are dropped in the 10 to 18 months it takes to

 process them, while the remaining cases are almost never approved.

“How much of our money do we want to haemorrhage before setting a visa 

requirement on Hungarian nationals, just like we did with the Czech 

Republic?” immigration lawyer Richard Kurland asked in an interview with 

The Toronto Sun.

“The Government of Canada is concerned about the rising number of refugee claims 

from Hungary, the vast majority of which are unfounded,” the Canadian Embassy 

in Budapest said in a statement to The Budapest Times. “As per standard protocol, 

Canada is monitoring the situation.” With 13 per cent of refugee claims in Canada 

coming from Hungarians, the country tops the list of asylum seekers.


Several cases of human trafficking have been under investigation by Canadian 

authorities in recent years, following allegations that asylum claimants had been 

coached into filing refugee claims and collecting social assistance. The benefits were 

then siphoned off by organised crime syndicates while the claimants were enslaved 

in construction work and locked in basements. In the largest human trafficking case 

in Canadian history this summer, nine members of an extended family of Hungarian 

Roma living in Hamilton, Ontario,  were brought to court on charges of human trafficking, 

conspiracy, criminal organisation and theft. The accused allegedly lured at least 19 

people from a town in northwest Hungary, with a promise of a better life and better 

job opportunities, but then forced the victims to work in slave-like conditions for no 

pay after having taken away their documents.




Immigration backlog keeping millionaires out of Canada


FRIDAY, OCTOBER 07, 2011 07:15 PM EDT


TORONTO - More than 22,500 foreign millionaires are waiting abroad to resettle in 

Canada, bringing with them more billion to help cash-strapped Ottawa, immigration 

officials say. There are about 16,400 millionaires alone in Hong Kong, Jim Versteegh, 

a federal immigration program manager at the Canadian consulate in Hong Kong, 

said about classified numbers released this week. Versteegh said there are about 

22,491 millionaire investors worldwide who’ve applied and are waiting to come to 

Canada. They’ll bring about 77,800 family members with them. “We still 

need a  game plan for dealing with our inventory,” he said in a July 2010 

memo obtained under an Access to Information request by lawyer Richard 

Kurland. “The total number of investor cases we now have on hand is 16,400.”

He said it’ll take about 12 years for visa officers to process the backlog of 

cases. Only about 2,000 cases involving the federal investor program are 

processed yearly. Kurland said investors are required to dish out $400,000 

in cash each to Ottawa to obtain visas for their families, providing they pass 

medical and background checks. He estimated the millionaires will hand over 

about $9 billion in cash to the federal government for use for the provinces.

“We are losing some of these people to other countries,” Kurland said. 

“Many of these people don’t want to wait for years are going elsewhere.”

He said there’s stiff competition from the United States, Australia and some 

European countries for the well-heeled crowd. “These people are paying 

hard cash for Canadian visas,” Kurland said. “That money will go a long way 

to create jobs and our deficit.”


Federal immigration officials have said officers can only process 2,000 cases yearly 

because it takes a long time to determine source of the funds or whether the money 

is linked to organized crime.





October 1, 2011


OTTAWA - As Canada receives thousands of dubious refugee claims from Hungarian 

citizens, there's a call for drastic action. "How much of our money do we want to 

hemorrhage before setting a visa requirement on Hungarian nationals, just 

like we did with the Czech Republic?" asked immigration lawyer Richard Kurland.


Between January and August of this year 2,045 people claiming to be refugees came 

to Canada from Hungary That's 13% of all refugee claims made during that time in 

Canada, keeping Hungary as this country's top source of refugee claims. QMI Agency 

has acquired a 2010 Canada Border Services Agency report that concluded most of 

the claimants from Hungary are Roma – a stateless ethnic group that considers the 

name 'Gypsy' derogatory. Once those claimants arrive, they're set up to receive 

medical, dental and eye care at no charge, social assistance benefits, and financial 

help for housing and furniture while their case is sorted out. But, claims from 

Hungary are almost never approved and most cases are usually abandoned or 

withdrawn during the 12 to 18 months it takes to process them. Citizenship and 

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney spoke out about the problem in the House of 

Commons in April 2010. "The allegations are that many of these people were 

coached to come to Canada, make a false asylum claim and then register for 

provincial welfare benefits which subsequently flowed to a criminal organization. 

The asylum system was being abused as a tool to access welfare." said Kenney.  

Over the last several years, the Mounties have investigated allegations people have


been trafficked from Hungary to Hamilton, Ont., coached into filing refugee claims 

and collecting social assistance, enslaved in construction work, and locked in 

basements while organized crime syndicates took every penny from them.

The Conservatives passed reforms to the refugee system last year to get claims

processed in just two or three months -- not long enough for most claimants to

get approval for provincial welfare benefits.

Budget considerations and the process for approving new regulations have bogged 

down those reforms, so changes aren't expected until late June 2012.

Federal officials say a new visa requirement for Hungarian nationals is not under 





Diplomatic breakthrough led to Zhao murder trial: lawyer

Amanda Zhao is seen in this undated file image. The trial for her murder will begin on 

Sept. 20, 2011 - almost nine years after she was found dead. (CTV)


ctvbc.ca     Monday Sep. 19, 2011 3:43 PM PT


Nine years after Amanda Zhao was killed in B.C., her ex-boyfriend is set to stand

trial in China for murder, thanks to a bit of diplomatic maneuvering.


The 21-year-old Chinese student was found dead in October 2002, her body stuffed into

a suitcase in Stave Lake. Beginning Tuesday, Ang Li will stand trial for the killing in

Beijing. Li was a suspect in the murder, but fled Canada to his home country two 

days after Zhao's body was found. He wasn't arrested until 2009, and couldn't be 

tried without information from investigators in B.C. Canada and China don't have 

an extradition treaty, but a series of recent negotiations helped move the case 

forward. "The Chinese government had agreed to waive the death penalty and 

with that, the federal government agreed to share evidence with Chinese 

authorities," NDP MLA Jenny Kwan told reporters Monday.


The move comes two months after China's most-wanted fugitive, Lai Changxing, was

booted out of Canada. To achieve his deportation, the Chinese government assured

Canadian officials that Lai would not be executed.


Immigration lawyer Richard Kurland says those negotiations may have 

paved the way for Li's trial. "I think the return of Mr. Lai to China resulted 

in a watershed diplomatic moment. The death card on the table has been 

removed," Kurland told CTV News. "Canada said, ‘We're not going to send 

him back if he's going to face the death penalty,' and today it's the same 

card played diplomatically once more."


Investigators believe Zhao was strangled to death. She was studying English at

Coquitlam College at the time she was killed, and was living with Li in a basement 

suite. Li reported her missing, but it wasn't until 11 days later that hikers discovered 

her mangled body in the woods. After his flight to China, he lived with his father in 

a military compound until the time of his arrest. Li's cousin Han Zhang was also 

arrested in China and is accused of being an accessory to the murder.


With a report from CTV British Columbia's Bhinder Sajan



By Mata Press Service

The Federal government should dramatically hike the visa fees for the 

world’s wealthy who are lining up to get into Canada via the Immigrant 

Investor Program, says one of the country’s leading immigration policy 

Richard Kurland, an immigration lawyer who is also the 

editor-in-chief of Lexbase, a monthly publication on current immigration 

issues, is also warning that agents working with Canadian banks or 

facilitators are “price-fixing” commissions as they scour Asia for potential 

investor immigrants .
This practice, if left unchecked will incentivize fraud 

in the investor immigrant class, Kurland warned.
Facilitators are 

financial institutions, approved by Immigration Canada to market the 

Immigrant Investor Program (IIP).
The facilitators  in turn pay “agents” 

to bring clients to them.
These agents reportedly receive between $40,000 

and $60,000 for each referral. Some agents are commanding as much as 

$100,000 in commissions, the internal documents noted.
Basing his 

views on a draft briefing note obtained pursuant to the Access to 

Information Act, Kurland said Immigration Canada has been warned about 

‘price fixing’ by offshore Chinese agents.
The internal documents he states 

in Lexbase, provide a candid explanation of how Canada’s federal immigrant 

investor program works.
Last year, nearly 12,000 people, including 

spouses and dependants, moved to Canada under the federal government’s 

Immigrant Investor Program, up from 4,950 a decade ago, according to 

Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
To qualify in this category, immigrants 

must have a minimum net worth of at least $1.6 million, and are 

required to “invest” $800,000 with the government, mostly through ‘facilitators’ 

which is returned after five years.
British Columbia, under its provincial 

nominee program also saw 203 new permanent residents between 2005 

and 2010 who invested $423 million in the province, creating more than 

1,100 jobs.
Kurland said there is now a three-year supply of federal investor 

cases and that Canada can immediately increase the amount required for 

the required investment from the present “$800,000” to $1.2 million.

minimum net worth from the current “$1.6 million” should also be raised to 

$2.5 million, he suggested.
“Canada has dramatically underpriced the federal 

investor program. It is a ‘no risk’ policy proposal (to hike the fees) because 

the current investor case backlog is so large, that our inventory can 

continuously supply investor cases right through 2015, even if no new cases 

enter the system.
 If the demand for investor visas grossly exceeds the 

available supply of investor visas, increase the price until demand levels out 

with supply,” he wrote.
In Hong Kong alone, there are 15,835 cases which 

represent a potential $6.3 billion investment in Canada ($400,000 per case 

processed under the ‘old’ rules; $800,000 per case under the ‘new’ rules).

The demand for investors’ visas is so great that Canada recently placed a 

700 applicant limit on “new cases” in 2011. That quota was filled within a 

matter of days.
Here is a sampling of who are in the queues around the world 

trying to get into Canada under the investor visa program, based on the internal 

documents obtained by Kurland;


Accra: “From the perspective of the selection grid, Accra provided the ideal Investors - 

highly educated with a good command of English. This is the only Mission where 

language points were consistently noted. The majority of applicants were awarded 

16 points for moderate English. Their average net worth was $2,877,823.  Average 

age at application was 45. Accra Investors had the highest levels of education amongst 

all Missions surveyed. 50% of the sample [had] a Masters or PhD. Many of them were 

educated in the US and UK.”

Beijing: “Compared to the other Missions already surveyed, Beijing provided a pool 

of younger applicants, with more business experience and a higher net worth. The 

average PNW [Personal Net Worth] was $2,289,497.  The average age at application 

was 41. All applicants earned full points, and ages ranged from 34 – 49 All of the 

applicants had at least secondary and 43% [had] a 2-3 year post-secondary credential.

 9% [had] a Masters or PhD.”

Taipei: “Taiwanese are comparable to other applicants from the same region in terms 

of how they scored on the selection grid. A large number of applicants (approx. 40%) 

already had children studying in Canada at the time of application. The average Personal 

Net Worth was $1,468,010. They are a younger group - average age at application was 

46 and earned on average 9 points, out of a possible 10. The ages ranged from 32 - 59, 

with the largest group in their 40s (69%) […] and only 5% was 54 and over.

Taiwanese applicants have a moderate level of education. There were a significant 

number of professionals applying through Taipei,  Many of these professionals were 

in the medical field.”

Seoul: The majority of applicants (82%) had dependents living in Canada at the time 

of application. Often the spouse and children were already taking up temporary 

residence. 23% of the sample qualified via the Management option. There were a 

significant number of medical professionals (15%) who qualified for business 

experience through sale proprietorship medical clinics. The average personal net worth  

was $1,565,181.  The average age at application was 46The majority of applicants were 

in their 40’s at the time of applying (82%).

Islamabad: The average PNW was $3,071,729. This was a younger group – average age 

was 42 and average age points earned was 9. Ages ranged from 31- 57, with 88% 

of the sample earning full age. Education levels were lower through Islamabad.  56% 

of the sample had secondary or less, and 25% [had] a Bachelors and Masters.”

New Delhi: “The overall calibre of applicants applying through this Post was 

comparatively lower. The education level was low, language abilities were often 

noted as nil, and the majority were farm owners (67%) who were working on ancestral 

lands. New Delhi received a young group of applicants - average age was 39. 

New Delhi and Islamabad had the lowest average points for education. 20% had not 

completed secondary, while 47% had only completed secondary.”

Buffalo: “Buffalo processed Investors with the highest average net worth - 

$8,504,258, as well as the oldest Investors - average age of 52. All of the applicants 

in this sample applied as business owners.  Ages ranged from 29 - 71. 

44% earned full age points, while the rest were 54 and above and earned 0 points. 

55% [had] post-secondary studies.”

London: “They had a high net worth - $3,502,083 and there was a high intake of 

Managers (44%). This was an older group, comparatively speaking. The average age 

at application was 51 and average age points earned were 5. 44% were 54 

or over and earned 0 points. The entire sample had completed at least secondary.  

No applicants earned full education points.”

Cairo: “They had a high net worth - average of $3,429,493. Ages ranged from 28 - 52, 

with 86% of the sample earning the full 10 points available for age. There was a high 

level of education in Cairo.  No applicant (in sample studied)  earned less than 20 points 

for education.”

Moscow: “They were a young group, with high education and significant business 

experience. Their average net worth was $2,384,684. All of the Investors were business 

owners. The average age of the Russian Investor was 43. Education levels were high - 

average points earned were 22.

Berlin: “Their average net worth was $2,384,836. 25% of this group qualified via the 

Management option. The majority of applicants already had dependents living in 

Canada, and in some cases the principal applicant’s primary residence was also in 

Canada. There was a noticeable trend amongst those Investors already residing in 

Canada to have sold their businesses a year or two before applying. Age: The average 

age for this group was 51”.

Kuwait: “They had a high average net worth - $4,200,166. Average age at application 

for this group was 48. Kuwaitis had the lowest levels of education in this region.” 

“67% of the sample had only completed secondary.”

UAE: “Their average net worth was high $3,943,305.  39% were in their 40s’ and 

33% were 50 and over when they applied. Education levels were lower in comparison 

to other countries in this region.”

Saudi Arabia: “Their average Personal Net Worth was $2,101,523. The average age 

at application was 43. 38% of applicants were 50 and over. All applicants had 

completed at least secondary.

Damascus: “Typically, Investors from this area were older, wealthier and did not 

fare as well on the selection grid. Their average PNW was $3,961,830. The average 

age at application was 50.”




Court backs Husky oil executive’s bid to get visas for his Nepalese servants


TORONTO AND CALGARY  —   Globe and Mail

Wednesday, Sep. 14, 2011 9:15PM EDT


Since he left his native Nepal 13 years ago, Shyam Thapa Chhetri has spent 

his entire adult life working with his brother Shalik as domestic servants at the 

home of a telecom executive in Delhi, for $130 to $186 a month.

Now their employer is trying to get the brothers to come with him as he runs 

a major oil company in Calgary.


Asim Ghosh, the chief executive at Husky Energy Inc., has successfully gone to 

court to force diplomats at the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi to 

reconsider their initial decision to refuse the Chhetris temporary work visas.

The case has shone a light into the world of temporary workers, a category of 

newcomers whose arrival has now outpaced permanent immigrants in Alberta, 

raising union fears that Canada is becoming a country of guest workers.

If the Chhetri brothers eventually get their visas, they are to come to Canada to 

keep Mr. Ghosh’s house clean, wash and iron clothes, cut grass and shovel snow, 

and prepare meals in either of the Bengali, Uttar Pradeshi or southern styles of 

Indian cuisine. Visa officers in Delhi were concerned that the brothers wouldn’t 

leave Canada after their work visas expired. But a Federal Court ruling last July 

ordered the applications to be reviewed again.


In Canada, the Chhetris would earn 13 times more than in Delhi, though 

accommodation won’t be included so they would have to face Calgary’s housing 

market on $28,537 a year. (They are to be paid $13.72 an hour, with 10 weeks of 

paid vacation and medical and dental benefits. Alberta has an annual minimum wage 

of $21,492 for domestic employees.) To justify their hiring, Mr. Ghosh obtained a 

labour market opinion (LMO), a federal government document certifying that no 

Canadian was available to fill the Chhetris’ jobs.


“These guys will likely do very well for themselves. Typically, a fellow like 

this is looking for continuity,” said Vancouver immigration lawyer Richard 

Kurland. Mr. Kurland, who has advocated for temporary workers, said 

many others are not so lucky and languish in poorly paid jobs with little 

oversight or legal recourse.


The issue is especially topical in Alberta, home to nearly a quarter of Canada’s 

temporary foreign workers. Nearly 43,000 of the 113,000 LMOs issued last year by 

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada were for Alberta.

Hiring temporary employees is supposed to be a tool of last resort, but looser 

federal rules have allowed employers to fast-track foreign workers into Canada, 

Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan said.

Because Mr. Ghosh has employed the brothers for more than a decade, it is unlikely 

that their stay in Canada will be temporary, Mr. McGowan argued. “The federal 

government’s Temporary Foreign Worker program has completely gone out of 

control,” he said. Still, Mr. Ghosh had trouble persuading consular staff to let him 

bring his servants to Canada.


After successfully managing Vodafone Essar Ltd., India’s second-biggest telecom 

firm, Mr. Ghosh was named Husky chief executive in June of last year, earning 

an annualized salary of $1.2-million.

By October, he had obtained a favourable LMO for his two domestics. The following 

month, visa officers rejected the Chhetris’ applications. Officers said the brothers 

had weak ties to Nepal and suspected that the huge salary hike would lead them to 

stay in Canada. The Federal Court, however, ruled in July that the wage gap 

shouldn’t disqualify the two men. Earning more is “the very reason for coming,” 

Mr. Justice Donald Rennie said.


While “a yellow flag was reasonably raised” by the visa officer, the case deserves 

a second look, the judge ruled. Mr. Ghosh will not comment on the case, a Husky 

spokeswoman said.




Failed refugees can get $2G to leave



WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 24, 2011    6:54 PM EDT

Wearing surgical masks Canadian Border officials board the MV Sun Sea after it 

docked at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt with an estimated 490 suspected Tamil 

migrants on board in Colwood, British Columbia on Vancouver Island August 13, 2010. 

REUTERS/Andy Clark


TORONTO - A controversial policy that will enable Ottawa to buy airline tickets for 

failed refugees and give them up to $2,000 each to leave Canada is slated to 

take effect in June next year. Failed claimants under a Balanced Refugee Reform Act 

can use the $2,000 when they return home for education, vocational training, 

job placements or business pursuits, federal immigration officials said.


The Act, which will have refugee cases decided in a year, contains an Assisted 

Voluntary Returns (AVR) program to give financial incentive to failed claimants to 

leave Canada and reintegrate them in their home country. The initiative has been met 

with applause by lawyers and immigration workers.


"The Canadian taxpayers will save a lot of money by getting these people 

to leave right away," said lawyer Richard Kurland. "If they don't leave, we 

have to pay to carry them." It costs millions of dollars to "track, monitor a

nd remove" failed claimants who may go underground and not leave, Kurland 


Public Safety Ministry officials said there are about 9,200 failed refugees who go 

underground in the Toronto-area yearly. There are 44,000 immigration offenders on 

the lam nationwide. The way things work now "money is not generally given directly 

to the failed asylum claimant" besides incidental expenses such as meal money or 

taxi fare, according to the AVR program. The new proposal would make "it more 

likely for failed claimants to reintegrate into their home country and less likely to 

return to Canada." Ottawa said the funds dished out to failed claimants would be 

managed and distributed by an independent service provider on behalf of Ottawa.


The $2,000 being handed out is not a strong incentive for claimants to submit false 

claims to defraud the system, immigration officials said.

Failed claimants are eligible for the program if they do not have a criminal record, 

meet all their reporting requirements and abide by terms and conditions imposed. 

Those who leave voluntarily are allowed to apply to return to Canada.

Officials said those who abuse the program can be imposed with a temporary 

ban on returning to Canada or may have to reimburse the Canada Border Services 

Agency for assistance received. The program is in existence right now in about 

18 European countries. Federal immigration officials said the "funding support is a 

conservative amount" compared to a program in the United Kingdom that dishes 

out $7,200 per claimant. The program sparked controversy in the U.K. when it 

began, from people who accused the government of doling out taxpayers' money in 

times of economic restraint. Immigration officials said voluntary returns allow failed 

claimants to go back to their homeland with dignity and anonymity.





August 24, 2011         


Diplomatic Contacts

Critics decry outsourcing of visa processing

Privacy commissioner notes 'challenges and risks.'

By Kristen Shane

Published August 24, 2011


The federal government is working to create a global network of visa processing 

offices, many of which are now privately run—a move that critics say raises 

concerns over information security, privacy and oversight. The government is 

set to almost double the number of countries in which it outsources the operation 

of visa application centres, from 20 to 35. During Prime Minister Stephen Harper's 

visit to Latin America earlier this month, he announced the opening of one in Costa 

Rica, and three in Brazil.


These are in addition to six more scheduled to open this month and seven next 

month, all in South and Central America. They add to those already running

 everywhere from Mexico to Moldova, Kenya to Kazakhstan. Citizenship and 

Immigration Canada says it wants to continue to expand its use of these centres 

globally, although a spokesperson says no final decisions have been made yet. 

Some centres could also collect and transmit biometric information, such as 

fingerprints, in the future.


Business sees efficiencies, convenience

Canadian missions abroad process applications for temporary visas to Canada. 

But since 2000, they have been striking agreements with third parties to outsource 

more and more of these activities. Most service providers are businesses. They 

include a Canadian subsidiary of Computer Sciences Corporation, a Fortune 500 

American information technology company that will run the new visa application 

centres in 15 Latin American countries, and the India-based VFS Global. Embassy 

tried to reach someone with VFS Global but did not receive a response. A CSC 

 spokesperson referred comment to CIC. The Canadian government also works 

with at least one non-profit group. The International Organization for Migration is 

an intergovernmental organization that runs application centres for Canada in 

Vietnam and Tajikistan. On top of the Canadian government's processing fee, 

application centre operators charge a service fee to each applicant for accepting 

their application and supporting documents such as passports, making sure it's 

complete, tracking it, sending it to a Canadian embassy or consulate and returning 

documents after a government visa officer has decided whether to accept or deny the 

application. CIC approves fees as part of a formal agreement it signs with each service 

provider. They differ depending on the country. The base fee is about $14 CAD in 

India and $36 in China. Countries such as the United States, UK and Australia also 

outsource visa application processing. Business groups and the tourism industry like 

it because it makes the process more efficient by ensuring there's less chance of being 

rejected for incomplete or incorrect forms, and more convenient because visa 

application centres may be easier to access than consulates and are typically open 

longer hours. Stephen Cryne is president and CEO of the Canadian Employee 

Relocation Council, which helps its member firms address workforce mobility issues. 

It serves 400 companies with activities in Brazil. "Any way that we can make it easier 

for those companies to move their people between Canada and the US is welcome 

news," said Mr. Cryne. "It goes a long way to helping our economy." He sees the 

Latin American visa centre boom as part of the Canadian government's larger trade 

agenda in the region.


David Goldstein, president and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, 

said economically and demographically, Mexico and Brazil have the fastest-growing 

upper- and middle-class populations in the hemisphere—people who can now afford 

to travel the world. His lobby group would like the Canadian government to stop 

imposing visas on them altogether, but if they have to be there, he said, a faster 

visa process is "the semi-perfect solution."

While critics may complain about the inflated cost of getting a visa through a 

privately-run application centre, Mr. Goldstein said consulates are still open to take 

visa applications directly. "In the grand scheme of things, if you're booking a trip 

from São Paulo to Toronto, you're going to spend thousands of dollars between 

airfares, hotels and restaurants. Another $20, $30, $40 for convenience is not a 

significant investment," he said. Visa application centres improve the productivity 

and processing times of visa posts for temporary resident applications, said Phil 

 Mooney, president and CEO of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory 

 Council. "In most of the cases where they've been introduced the wait times for 

temporary resident applications have decreased," he said.


Concerns over adequate safeguards

But Mr. Mooney also said some immigration consultants have raised concerns. 

For example, visa application centre officials are to ensure applicants' forms are filled 

out correctly, but not to offer advice. The federal government passed a law this year 

to strengthen penalties against people who charge money but aren't authorized to give 

immigration advice. CIC spokesperson Nancy Caron said that under the terms of the 

agreement signed between CIC and each centre operator, the service is subject to 

inspection and audit. If an operator doesn't comply, CIC could cancel the agreement.


"The government should be more open in how they monitor these facilities and there 

should be reports that are readily available to individuals about that," said Mr. Mooney, 

adding that this would help maintain the integrity of the system.

He also raised concerns about sensitive personal information falling into wrong hands, 

for example if the business running a visa application centre must be licensed by the 

country in which it operates, and the state security service requires access to the 

company's files. NDP immigration critic Don Davies said there are certain government 

functions that it must do itself, such as adjudicating income tax returns and visa 

processing. Every deviation from that direct relationship between the government 

and its client, he argued, raises the potential for risk in dealing with sensitive 

information such as bank records. "If you're in India and you're handing this 

 information to a third-party provider, what kind of guarantees do you have? That 

company could go out of business next week and flee the country," he said. "They 

could be selling that information to someone else. They could have a breach of 



VFS Global, which runs Canadian visa application centres in eight countries including 

China and India, did come under pressure in 2007 when a security breach meant the 

personal data of people applying online through VFS for a visa to the UK were visible 

to others visiting the site. VFS has since said it has improved information security by 

following industry best practices.


Vancouver immigration lawyer Richard Kurland said he's concerned that 

contractors or subcontractors in other countries might flout legislated privacy 

safeguards that the private and public sectors in Canada must both follow.

Monitoring should be done by third parties, he also argued, not "the foxes 

guarding the foxes." And there should be accessible means of recourse for 

users if something goes wrong.

Anne-Marie Hayden, a spokesperson for the federal privacy commissioner's office, 

outlined similar concerns. She also said there are plans for some visa application 

centres to collect and transit biometric information, such as fingerprints, which is 

especially sensitive personal information. CIC should work to mitigate and manage 

such "privacy challenges and risks," she said.

She noted that CIC has sought and is seeking advice from her office as it establishes 

visa application centre management contracts. The office is currently reviewing a 

CIC privacy impact assessment for some of its visa application centres. And privacy 

and security requirements will be built into CIC's assessment of candidates in a 

coming request for proposal process related to the creation and management of a 

global visa application centre network.

Ms. Caron noted that safeguards on the protection of personal information are 

built into agreements with application centre operators. Background checks and 

screening are done on all centre staff, she said, and they must be given proper 

training as provided or authorized by CIC. Mr. Davies suggested the government 

open small satellite offices to process applications rather than use outside providers.





Alleged Serbian war criminal loses citizenship court battle in Vancouver 




Alleged war criminal Branko Rogan leaves Federal Court in Vancouver, B.C. 

on April 27, 2011.    Photograph by: Ian Smith, PNG


Federal Court Judge Anne Mactavish found that Rogan, 49, intentionally hid information 

about his work as a prison guard in the former Yugoslavia when he applied to come to 

Canada as a refugee. “I have also concluded that Mr. Rogan participated, both directly 

and indirectly, in the mistreatment and torture of prisoners held at those facilities,” 

Mactavish wrote in her decision. Mactavish’s ruling won’t automatically strip Branko 

of his citizenship, but it is an important step in the process, which began in 1996, with 

a chance encounter at a Burnaby mall between Rogan and the wife of Huso Hatzic, 

a childhood friend of Branko’s who was imprisoned in Bosnia-Herzegovina while 

Branko was a guard. Hatzic told the RCMP about Rogan’s past, kicking off the first 

attempt to revoke a person’s Canadian citizenship for a war crime committed after 

the Second World War. Hatzic said he was thrilled Thursday when the Federal Court 

ruled that Rogan lied about his past to get admitted to Canada. “Justice came after 

16 years — finally — it was very slow,” Hatzic said. Hatzic said he assumed Rogan 

would have been dealt with years ago by the Canadian authorities. “I thought Canada 

was much quicker on these things,” he said. “With the ruling, everybody is just so 



Rogan, a Serb, came to Canada as a refugee in 1994 and became a Canadian citizen 

three years later. A woman who answered the phone at Rogan’s Port Coquitlam home 

said he was away on vacation in Italy. Four Muslim men from Bileca told the court a

bout being arrested, severely beaten and held in deplorable and crowded conditions in 

the detention centre, where they were only fed once a day. Bileca — home to 13,000 

people, 80 per cent of whom were Serb in 1991 — is in Bosnia-Herzegovina, a province 

in the former Yugoslavia. The country broke up in 1990, sparking a civil war in which 

alliances were formed along religious and ethnic lines. Serbian forces arrested, detained 

and tortured non-Serbs, including Bosnian Muslims. Although none of the witnesses were 

beaten by Rogan, they gave chilling testimony about an elderly man named Asim 

Catovic, who they said Branko beat on a daily basis for seven to 10 days.


Ramiz Pervan testified that he heard Catovic scream for an hour, then Rogan came back 

into the prison and asked Catovic’s son if he had heard him kill his father. “Mr. Rogan 

then told Mr. Catovic’s son that ‘As long as I am a guard, this is going to happen. This 

is always going to happen to him.’ Pervan said in court. The testimony says after one 

of the beatings, Catovic’s face was unrecognizable and that the bruises on his body 

were “really, really bad and disturbing to look at.” Rogan insisted the witnesses were 

lying, calling their testimony “incredible lies.”


Rogan testified in April that he had done nothing wrong, and that those who accused him 

had lied to Canadian authorities. He did not regularly attend the hearing except to 

testify, and he was not represented by a lawyer. Rogan admitted to working as a 

reserve police officer at two jails in Bileca, and said he had heard stories of Muslim 

prisoners being beaten and tortured, but said he did not participate in the beatings.


Hatzic said he feels he has helped make his new country a little safer and bring justice 

for the atrocities in his former one. “It is better that whoever did something like this 

is supposed to be punished even if it is my father, my brother or my relative.....

it doesn’t matter right is right and wrong is wrong.”


The Citizenship Act allows the Governor in Council to revoke a person’s citizenship if 

they became Canadian through false representation or knowingly hid material 

circumstances. If Branko had told the truth about his work at the detention centre, 

his application for refugee status would have been rejected. “Mr. Rogan stated that 

he did not tell Canadian immigration authorities about his work with the reserve 

police ‘Because that is not considered a real job. I did not really receive a salary for

it. I was there under force, I mean, I wasn’t — yeah, I was there under force. It was 

not a real job,’” court documents show. But in another interview reported by Mactavish, 

Rogan said he omitted his work as a prison guard because he was scared that Canada 

would not accept him because of it. Hatzic said the “Canadian government should 

learn a lesson. They should check a little bit better. They should check closely. It is 

okay to open the country and bring people in. It is really good. Canada is giving a 

better life to a lot of people. But now we don’t have to be scared that we are living 

next to somebody who maybe wasn’t checked properly.”


The Governor in Council’s decision, which is the next stop in the citizenship revocation 

process, may be subject to a review, but no appeal is permitted on the finding of 

facts by the Federal Court.


The process to deport Branko may take several more years, said Richard 

Kurland, a Vancouver immigration policy analyst and lawyer.

“The court case likely needed a lot of preparation prior to commencement 

back in 2007. All in, it would not be unusual if the entire process needs a 

decade,” Kurland said.

“To all Canadians and others who contributed to the investigation on this file, 

including those who were victims from the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, 

this marks an important day of accountability and justice,” said the 

Vancouver-based RCMP lead investigator in the case, Paul Richards.

Court documents show that Rogan is employed in British Columbia as a 

metal worker.


With files from Kim Bolan


© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun





Toews hopes plan will help turf illegals



August 18, 2011  


Public Safety minister Vic Toews speaks during a press conference on border security 

in Winnipeg. (Brian Donogh/QMI Agency)

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews is hoping 95 new enforcement officers will help nab 

and reduce a backlog of 44,000 illegal immigrants who made Canada their home.

Toews said each year 9,200 failed refugees go underground in the Toronto area and 

they pose a big concern. "Many of these people are economic migrants who refuse 

to go back home," Toews said Thursday. "Not all of these people are dangerous or 

a danger to the public." There are 350 Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) 

enforcement officers in Toronto who remove more than 9,000 failed refugees yearly, 

but there's still a huge backlog of would-be deportees to find and remove, officials 

said. Toews hopes the new hires will help deport an additional 4,200 failed claimants, 

increasing the total to 13,400 yearly, for the next three years in a pilot Refugee 

Reform Initiative that will involve the RCMP, Canada Immigration, Canadian Security 

Intelligence Service, and the Immigration and Refugee Board.


"We are not happy to have all these people here illegally," Toews said. "They are 

not all wanted for criminality." Under the initiative to take effect next year, all 

failed claimants will be deported within a year of losing their cases.


Claimants will be tracked through an "asylum system" and failed claimants will go 

through a removals program to stop them from going underground. The initiative will 

also introduce an "Assisted Voluntary Returns," to help with the removal of "low-risk 

failed refugee claimants," the CBSA said. Almost half of the new officers will remain 

in Toronto with others working in Montreal and Vancouver, officials said. "Having 

additional officers will help us clear the backlog," Toews said. "We are working as a 

government to move these individuals out of Canada." The failed claimants have 

warrants issued for their arrests for either missing hearings or appearances before 

an Immigration and Refugee Board, the CBSA said. Most have been in Canada for 

less than two years and have work permits that have been suspended.


The crackdown was met with applause by lawyers and immigration workers.


"This is Christmas come early," said immigration lawyer Richard Kurland. 

"Canada is finally serious about immigration enforcement."


The failed refugees do not include 30 suspected war criminals, 1,400 foreign criminals 

or 20,000 immigration offenders already on the lam.   





American mice invade Canadian offices

by Charlie Smith on August 5, 2011 at 2:28 PM

Canadian diplomats are facing down some very tough mice.


Vancouver immigration lawyer Richard Kurland's newsletter always contains 

some interesting items from inside government, but I can't recall it ever covering 

rodent infestations. Until now.

In the July-August edition, Kurland includes a "security alert" written last 

year by Diane Burrows, a staffer in the Canadian embassy in Washington.

"There was an epic struggle here yesterday evening as a rather plump mouse met 

his demise in the middle of the visa section work area—he had clearly taken bait 

and succumbed. When I left the office he was slightly drugged; later on he emerged 

and slowly died. Lorraine alerted security and someone took him away.”

A followup message from Anna Mae Grigg, who works in the New York consulate, 

declared: “We have failed rather spectacularly to bring our mice under 

control—to the point where the mission has decided not to renew the infestation 

treatments contract. Poison does not touch NYC mice—they are tough!!!”

I will resist the temptation to make any jokes about putting Maple Leaf food 

products in the vicinity.






July 20, 2011

Kenney: Majority of fraudulent citizens outside Canada

By Bryn Weese, Parliamentary Bureau

Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney speaks in Calgary, Alta., July 12, 2011. 

(QMI Agency/ Jim Wells)



OTTAWA — Most of the 1,800 people the feds believe obtained their citizenship 

fraudulently are Canadians of convenience who don’t even live here, according to 

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. And he doesn’t expect many to object to the 

government’s move to revoke their citizenship, which he said could be completed in a 

year. “Most of these people, we believe, have never really lived in Canada and are 

still overseas,” he said Wednesday. “We frankly have got them dead to rights with 

the proof that we have, and I don’t think a lot of these people want to go through a 

long, protracted public court battle where it’s clear they fraudulently obtained our 

citizenship.” Immigration officials said the suspects, through the use of crooked 

consultants who charge thousands of dollars, use fake names or addresses to 

circumvent the three years Canadian residency required to become a citizen.


On Tuesday, QMI Agency revealed the revocations, which come after a lengthy 

RCMP and departmental investigation. “This investigation and these enforcement 

efforts ... should send a very clear message to the little industry of crooked citizenship 

consultants — we’re putting them out of business,” Kenney said. “Canadian citizenship 

is not for sale, and we’re onto them.”


Kenney warned that the 1,800 are likely just the “first tranche” of people to have 

their citizenship revoked as the feds crack down on the crooked consultants, many 

of whom guarantee Canadian citizenship for a hefty price.

He said the “clues” that tipped the government off to the scam included, in some cases, 

many applicants using the same address on their applications and some of the “dodgy” 

applications coming from the same consultants. In 2006, the federal government shelled 

out nearly $100 million evacuating 15,000 Canadian citizens from Lebanon during the 

Lebanon-Israel conflict. It turns out many of them had rarely, if ever, set foot in 

Canada, prompting some to blast them as “Canadians of convenience.” Kenney said 

many of the people whose citizenships are being revoked were, in fact, living in tax 

havens making money hand over fist and fraudulently obtained Canadian citizenship 

as a “insurance policy” to access Canada’s free health care, subsidized tuition at 

Canadian schools, or a free ticket out of a conflict.


Immigration lawyer Richard Kurland said it’s “about time” the feds got tough 

with fraudulent citizens and the crooked consultants who fudge residency 

requirements. “People need to know the government can check up and crack 

down on fraudsters,” Kurland said Wednesday. He also said the government 

should send in the tax man to try and recuperate some of the lost revenue 

from the fraudulent citizens who have avoided paying income taxes here.

“They can’t have it both ways. Either they were a resident and physically 

present in Canada, which is sufficient to trigger tax on global income, 

or not,” Kurland said.


Since Confederation, Canada has only ever revoked 67 citizenships, 63 of them since 

1977. Since 2006, more than one million people have been sworn in as new Canadian 

citizens. If the people who obtained their citizenship fraudulently are living in Canada, 

they won’t likely be deported, but would revert to their immigrant status prior to 

becoming a citizen illegally.





Ottawa targets 1,800 in citizenship crackdown

Move shows Canadian citizenship 'not for sale': Kenney

CBC News Posted: Jul 20, 2011 9:00 AM 


Beginning of Story Content


Ottawa intends to revoke the citizenship of 1,800 people it believes obtained their 

status through fraudulent means, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says.

The decision to revoke citizenship is rare, and a large-scale crackdown such as 

this one appears to be unprecedented. Fewer than 70 citizenships have ever been 

revoked since the Citizenship Act was passed in 1947. The people were identified 

through investigations conducted across the country by police and the Citizenship 

and Immigration Department. People identified by the investigations will receive 

letters informing them of the government's decision.


Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says the move to revoke the citizenship of 1,800 

people shows Canadian citizenship is 'not for sale.' (Canadian Press) Most of the 

1,800 individuals are believed to be living outside Canada, Kenney told reporters on 

Wednesday in Toronto. The minister said the move sends a "very clear message" to 

anyone who thinks of abusing Canada's citizenship system. "We are in the process 

of notifying them that we will revoke their citizenship because Canadian citizenship is 

not for sale," Kenney said. "We believe that the vast majority of new Canadian 

citizens respect our laws. There is a small but not insignificant number who hired 

crooked consultants to obtain fake proof of residency." The decision can be contested 

in Federal Court, which can be a long process. If individuals choose not to contest 

the decision, the federal cabinet will order their passports be voided and citizenship 

revoked. That doesn't necessarily mean those affected would face deportation.


If citizenship is revoked, the individual returns to whatever status he or she held 

before gaining it, such as permanent residency, which requires a separate process to 

revoke, the CBC's Meagan Fitzpatrick reported from Ottawa. Kenney said he didn't 

expect any of the identified cases to file for the "public battle" of a judicial review 

and believes the vast majority of the revocations will be resolved quickly.


"There's a very fair and exhaustive legal process," he said. "We have strong, 

convincing evidence of the fraudulent activity happening."

'If the minister's assuming most people are going to just roll over, he may have a 

big surprise coming to him.'  —Immigration lawyer Lorne Waldman


But Toronto immigration lawyer Lorne Waldman disagreed with Kenney, saying 

Wednesday he believes many of those facing revocation of citizenship will try to appeal 

the government's decision through Federal Court. "There are several questions that 

arise from this," Waldman said. "One is, where are they going to get the resources 

to proceed with this?" Waldman suggested the cost of the appeals process could force 

the government to divert funds from other Citizenship and Immigration initiatives, 

including settling new immigrants — something economic and demographic experts

say is badly needed.


"If the minister's assuming most people are going to just roll over, he may have a 

big surprise coming to him," Waldman said. "Each time someone seeks the right to 

go to Federal Court, that is an extremely expensive and time-consuming process."


Vancouver immigration lawyer Richard Kurland said it's about time the 

government brought in a "no nonsense" policy to crack down on fraudsters.

"I would also send in the tax man," Kurland wrote CBCNews in an email 

Wednesday.  "They can't have it both ways. Did they pay tax? Either they 

were resident and physically present, sufficient to trigger tax on global 

income, or not. "Think of all the lost revenue. I sure do."

Kurland said the move will most likely affect individuals from the Middle East 

and Persian Gulf countries, as well as China. He added the Federal Court 

process will protect the rights of the individuals. But like Waldman, Kurland 

warned the court system doesn't have the resources to handle 1,200 

cases quickly.


10-year travel visa announced

Canada is also creating a new visa for frequent visitors, valid for 10 years with limitless 

entrances to the country, Kenney announced. The visas will let people come to Canada 

for up to six months at a time, and as many times as they want, over the 10-year 

period. The new permit is expected to appeal to travellers who come to Canada 

frequently on business or to visit family. Kenney, who made the announcement in 

a speech to the Economic Club of Canada in Toronto, said the move creates a 

"more responsive and flexible" processing system to deal with more applications.


Multiple-entry visas are already recommended for parents and grandparents with 

sponsorships being processed. But the ministry says it could now be extended to other 

clientele, such as business visitors.




Wife feels victimized by legal system


Friday June 24, 2011

By John Thompson

Ian Stewart/Yukon News


Evangeline Ramirez at her Copper Ridge home on Thursday. Ramirez accuses her 

husband of having another family in the Phillipines, but could be the one found in 

contempt of court in her messy divorce trial.


‘I married a man I don’t know,” says Evangeline Ramirez, 61, between sobs.

Her husband, Benjamin Toquero, 64, filed for divorce in the autumn. At that time, the 

Whitehorse woman learned his big secret. He already had a wife and five children 

back in the Philippines, his country of origin. Toquero admits to the existence of 

his previous marriage in court documents. That plainly contradicts his immigration 

papers, marriage certificate and even his divorce statement of claim against Ramirez, 

which all claim he’s single. Yet, in Yukon’s Supreme Court, Ramirez is the one 

being punished. Toqero is seeking half of Ramirez’s assets in a messy divorce 

settlement. He’s also seeking spousal support payments. Earlier this month, Justice 

Leigh Gower awarded an interim payment of $1,500 to Toquero. So far, Ramirez has 

refused to pay. “I’d rather go to jail or kill myself,” she says. Now she runs the risk of 

being found in contempt of court. So it goes in Canada’s topsy-turvy legal system 

when it comes to allegations of marriage immigration fraud.


“I hear it again and again across the country,” says Richard Kurland, a 

Vancouver-based immigration lawyer. “Because, at the family law bar, 

you don’t want to hear anyone’s story. First, you determine the money. 

This stuff may be relevant for later, but it ain’t relevant now. So it looks like 

she’s being strung up twice.”

Even if Toquero is found to have falsified his immigration documents, it could 

take many years before he’s deported, thanks to several levels of appeal, 

says Kurland. “If he has good counsel, he may have a good case for 

compassionate humanitarian relief here.” Toquero declined to comment for this 

story. But, in a statement filed in court, he asserts he disclosed his other marriage 

to Ramirez early in their relationship and that it was her idea that he apply to 

immigrate as a single man. Ramirez disputes this. “I thought he liked me,” she says. 

“I thought he was a nice man. I thought he was single.”


Either way, Toquero’s court-filed explanation doesn’t get him off the hook, 

says Kurland. Bigamy, or being married to two people, is illegal in Canada. 

So is entering false information on immigration papers.

“A bigamist is a bigamist is a bigamist,” he says. “Even if she did know, 

it’s still bigamy. He’s still out. The guy is facing the door. There’s no 

getting around that. And, because he never became a citizen, he’s exposed, 

in plain, open view. “There was no gun to his head to hide a marriage and 

five kids.”


Such stories are especially familiar with Filipino immigrants, says Kurland, 

“because there’s no divorce in that country.”

Ramirez reported Toquero to immigration authorities and the RCMP in the autumn. 

To date, she’s heard nothing. Their case is to go to trial in September. In the meantime, 

Toquero is living in one of Ramirez’s houses and driving her white Chevy Malibu.


Immigration officials are frequently swamped with complaints, says Kurland.

 Allegations of marriage fraud don’t attract the same attention as 

“drug-pushers, terrorists and guys who beat up on women.”

But recent changes made by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney should help, says 

Julie Taub, an Ottawa-based lawyer who considers marriage immigration fraud to 

be her “pet peeve.”

Last year, Kenney assigned one immigration officer the task of solely working on 

marriage fraud complaints. She plans to pass Ramirez’s complaint on to him.

To Taub, “This is an open-and-shut case.” And she’s more optimistic than 

Kurland about the possibility of Toquero being deported.

“This guy will be kicked out of Canada very shortly.”

Ramirez and Toquero struck up a pen pal relationship in 1989. Both originally hail 

from the Philippines, and both were working abroad at the time. He was a boilermaker 

in Saudi Arabia. She was a nanny in Singapore. He visited. They liked each other. 

They stayed in touch. Ramirez arrived in Whitehorse in February of 1991. Toquero 

followed her in September of 1994. They married two months later at Whitehorse’s 

Sacred Heart Cathedral. By both accounts, it was not a happy relationship for long.


In court documents, he accuses her of making him labour away at her cleaning 

business from the moment he arrived and for little compensation. She accuses him 

of being sexually abusive. A statement by one of Ramirez’s daughters, Sarah 

Yvonne, accuses Toquero of making sexual advances to her and other employees 

at the cleaning business. Toquero denies this.


In court documents, he admits to having committed adultery with a woman in 1997. 

The couple separated twice, but made amends.

Toquero lost his job as a janitor with the Department of Education. Two supervisors 

accused him of kissing them and touching their groins, according to court documents.

Toquero denies all this in a court-filed statement, accusing one woman of being “a big l

iar, jealous, mean and bossy” and the other of plotting a “conspiracy to destroy my life.”

He eventually received a $12,000 settlement from the government, he says in a court 

filing. During the lead-up to divorce, in the summer of 2010, Toquero accused Ramirez 

of hiding his passport and immigration papers to prevent him from applying for 

citizenship, according to court documents. Ramirez called the RCMP after the 

argument and told them Toquero had threatened to burn their home down - something 

he disputes. She received a restraining order for one year. It expires in August.


Toquero insists he’s the one being harassed. In court statements, he alleges that 

Ramirez routinely threatened to have him deported. From the moment he arrived at 

the airport, Ramirez put him to work at her janitorial business and only provided him 

a monthly allowance of several hundred dollars, he writes in a court document.


He denies being abusive. “I have never hit her, but she has hit me,” he writes in 

a statement filed with the court. Since their separation, Ramirez cancelled his 

vehicle insurance and the fuel delivery and electricity hookup to his home, he 

writes in court documents. His two stepdaughters have been intimidated into 

denouncing him, he alleges. “I do not think they will want to testify for me as I 

think they are afraid of losing their jobs.” And Ramirez racked up a $12,000 

Visa bill in his name, he alleges in court documents. The one thing Toquero doesn’t 

contest is his previous marriage. He wed Carmencita Duclayan August 27, 1966 

in San Juan, La Union, according to documents filed in court. The marriage still 

appeared in the database of the Philippines’ National Statistics Office, as of 

March 23. Also on record is a blurry photo of a young bride and groom, and a 

saccharine “pledge of love” certificate offered to Duclayan as a Valentine’s gift in 

1990. “I love you and I’ll always do, through every hour of everyday. I’m always 

thinking of you. For my greatest happiness in all my lifetime through is my only 

feeling of always loving you.” Ramirez’s sister in the Philippines dug up these 

documents, following the divorce application, along with the birth certificates of five 

children. All these documents have sat in court files since the autumn. It 

goes to show how the family court system is “ignorant” to the reality of immigration 

marriage fraud, says Taub. “The court is actually, financially rewarding her 

estranged husband,” she says.



Contact John Thompson at






Sunday, June 12, 2011

Citizenship judges want better security



TORONTO - Some Canadian citizenship court judges say they don't feel safe at work 

and want increased security at their offices to deal with possible threats from the public, 

documents show. "The primary concern is that clients in the wait room have direct 

access to the judges offices, leaving them exposed to the direct public," said minutes 

of a September 2010 relocation meeting attended by citizenship court judges in Toronto.


The minutes of the confidential meeting, that included senior immigration 

officials, were obtained by lawyer Richard Kurland through an access of 

information request.

The judges called for precautions to be taken in a "security conscious" world.

A security door was to have been erected at a Toronto office to separate judges from 

the public, but it hasn't been installed yet, the document said.

Citizenship court judges from across the country have expressed security concerns, even 

though they were told that their offices had undergone a risk assessment and were 

deemed safe by federal officials, the minutes show.

"Security and safety needs to be a priority," said senior Judge George Springate.

"Paramount concern is the safety of judges in our new 'security-conscious' world."

The judges are responsible for screening and approving immigrants seeking entry into 


Kurland said new Canadians should be welcomed into the country and not 

sent packing. "A citizenship meeting isn't a police interview," Kurland said. 

"Welcome our new Canadians, don't scare them."


Springate was a former Montreal cop, professor and football player who played on the 

Montreal Alouettes in 1970 - a year the team won the Grey Cup.






Citizenship judges receive secret information


Top-secret police intelligence reports and information on investigations are being 

shared with citizenship court judges so they can make informed decisions on immigrants 

trying to become Canadians, federal officials have confirmed. "Judges are the 

primary decision makers for all resumption, renunciation and statelessness grant 

applications," said Raylene Baker, Registrar of Canadian Citizenship, in a memo 

obtained through an access of information request.


"All information relevant to the decision of an application before a citizenship 

judge must be provided to the judge in order for them to make an informed 

decision," Baker wrote in an October 2010 report obtained by immigration 

lawyer Richard Kurland and made available to QMI Agency.

"lnformation regarding investigations, intelligence reports and analysis on fraud 

trends or patterns could be useful to citizenship judges in the execution of their duties," 

Baker said. She said it "is not the role of individual officers and clerks to decide 

when information of this nature should be distributed to citizenship judges."


Baker said it is the role of an office of Operational Management and Co-ordination 

in Ottawa to decide what information is distributed to judges. The judges interview 

and examine applications from landed immigrants to determine if they qualify 

for Canadian citizenship. The court holds citizenship ceremonies for new Canadians.


"This information is provided to all citizenship judges through the Citizenship 

Commission," she said. "Communications between both judges and staff are 

important and should continue."

Kurland said secret intelligence reports appear to have been given to judges 

without disclosure of the practice to the public, parties appearing before 

the judges or to lawyers.  "What if the secret information triggers 

unfounded suspicion?" Kurland asked. "What if the secret information 

is incomplete, misleading, or just plain wrong?" He said there is no 

oversight process to review the secret information being provided to judges.





RCMP stands behind decision to charge absent woman with human trafficking


VANCOUVER— Globe and Mail

Published Tuesday, May. 17, 2011 9:59PM EDT


The RCMP is standing by its decision to announce human-trafficking charges against a 

West Vancouver woman while she was out of the country, even though it could mean 

she’s less likely to return to Canada Mounties earlier this week announced that 

Mumtaz Ladha had been charged with one count of human trafficking and one count 

of human smuggling under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Ms. Ladha, 

57, is accused of luring a young African woman to Canada with the promise of a job 

at a hair salon. Police say the young woman was instead forced to work long hours at 

Ms. Ladha’s luxury home with no pay and little food.


RCMP spokesman Constable Michael McLaughlin said investigators have reason to 

believe Ms. Ladha is out of the country, though he wouldn’t specify where she might 

be or when she could return. He said Ms. Ladha is aware of the charges and the onus 

is on her to face them.

“If, after a certain amount of time, she chooses not to do that, we do have other 

options that we can pursue in terms of getting an international warrant,” he said in 

an interview.

Constable McLaughlin said it’s “not the right time” to go that route, since Ms. Ladha 

still has an opportunity to return. He couldn’t say when the right time for such a move 

might be, or if extradition would become a possibility.

“We don’t believe that there’s an imminent risk to anybody by her not facing this 

charge right away. Now, if at some point the public interest starts leaning the other 

way, where it becomes a serious public-interest issue that she needs to face these 

charges, obviously we would revisit the idea of obtaining some kind of international 

warrant.” The African woman, now 23, arrived in West Vancouver in 2008. Police 

said she was forced to work 18 hours a day, seven days a week, and sometimes ate 

just leftovers. She was often only allowed to sleep when everyone else in the house 

was doing so. In June of 2009, the woman was advised to seek help at a women’s 

shelter. Constable McLaughlin wouldn’t say from whom that advice came.


The Public Prosecution Service of Canada, a federal government agency, approved 

charges last week, nearly two years after the woman fled the home. RCMP announced 

the charges Monday.

When asked why Mounties didn’t wait until Ms. Ladha returned, Constable McLaughlin 

said a charge is laid when it’s ready, not at the convenience of the accused. He said 

police couldn’t force the woman to stay in Canada because charges hadn’t been laid.


Richard Kurland, a Vancouver immigration lawyer, said it’s certainly conceivable 

Ms. Ladha won’t return. However, he added it’s also possible she will, since 

she does not have a criminal record and this would be her first offence. The 

maximum penalty for one of the offences alone would be a fine of up to $500,000 

and a 10-year prison term.

Benjamin Perrin, an assistant law professor at the University of British Columbia and 

the author of Invisible Chains: Canada’s Underground World of Human Trafficking, said 

he, too, was caught off guard by the timing of the announcement.

“I have to admit to being a bit surprised that the charges would be announced while the 

suspect is out of Canada. It’s not clear why they did this, or how long the person’s been 

out of the country.” But Prof. Perrin said he didn’t want to second-guess the RCMP’s 

strategy and agreed the house and woman’s family were compelling reasons for her to 

return. Prof. Perrin said the good news is charges have been laid at all, since such 

arrests have been rare. Lee Lakeman, of the Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s 

 Shelter, said it has seen five or six human-trafficking cases in the past couple of 

years. She said most have involved sex slavery, though there have been cases of 

domestic slavery as well. She said some of the cases involved women who were 

trapped in luxury homes. The young woman in the West Vancouver incident is still 

 in British Columbia, though police won’t say where. She is getting support from a 

number of social-assistance agencies.