Immigration fraud crackdown drastically increases the number of Canadians having their citizenship revoked
Stewart Bell | Dec 2, 2012 10:29 PM ET | Last Updated: Dec 3, 2012 2:40 PM ET
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Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press
In September, Jason Kenney, the minister of citizenship and immigration, announced his department had sent letters to 530 Canadians advising them their citizenship was being rescinded. Investigations into another 3,100 suspected of citizenship fraud were still underway, he said.
HOW YOU BECOME AN UNCANADIAN
The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration sends a Notice of Intention to Revoke Citizenship outlining the grounds for revocation.
The person concerned has the right to refer the matter to the Federal Court.
If the court finds citizenship was obtained through false representation, fraud or knowingly concealing material circumstances the Minister may prepare a report to the Governor in Council recommending that citizenship be revoked.
The text of the report is disclosed to the person concerned, who has the opportunity to make written submissions.
If the Governor in Council decides to revoke citizenship, it is carried out by an Order-in-Council.
The person who is the subject of the Order-in-Council has the right to have the Federal Court judicially review the GIC’s decision.
Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Mark Bilalov officially became a Canadian at a citizenship ceremony held on April Fool’s Day 2003. He swore the oath to Queen Elizabeth II and signed an affirmation saying he had not been the subject of any criminal proceedings.
But it wasn’t true.
The Russian immigrant was on probation at the time for assault and uttering threats, and he had just served four months for carrying a concealed weapon, possession of a controlled substance and possession of stolen property.
Nine years later, federal immigration authorities are only now trying to strip Mr. Bilalov of his citizenship, arguing he became a Canadian through “false representation,” “fraud” or “knowingly concealing material circumstances.”
The case is one of hundreds, and possibly thousands, that could soon be before the Federal Court of Canada now that the government has launched an unprecedented crackdown on citizenship fraud.
Normally, Ottawa revokes citizenship from only a handful of Canadians a year. Since 1947, it has happened fewer than 50 times. Recent cases include Nazi war criminals and Branko Rogan, who concealed his involvement in Bosnian war crimes from immigration authorities.
But in September, Jason Kenney, the minister of citizenship and immigration, announced his department had sent letters to 530 Canadians advising them their citizenship was being rescinded. Investigations into another 3,100 suspected of citizenship fraud were still underway, he said.