Canada’s immigration system vulnerable to fraud, says lawyer

Canada’s immigration system vulnerable to fraud, says lawyer

‘It’s not a perfect system by any stretch’

CBC News Posted: Apr 27, 2016 9:17 AM ET Last Updated: Apr 27, 2016 9:17 AM ET

Windsor immigration lawyer Eddie Kadri says an alleged case of misinformation on a passport shows there are cracks in Canada's immigration system.

Windsor immigration lawyer Eddie Kadri says an alleged case of misinformation on a passport shows there are cracks in Canada’s immigration system. (Jonathan Pinto/CBC)

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A Windsor, Ont. immigration lawyer says an alleged case of passport fraud in Windsor may be only one of many cases to slip through the cracks in Canada’s immigration system.

“We have a good system [but] it’s not a perfect system by any stretch,” Eddie Kadri told CBC Radio’s Windsor Morning. “Professionals like myself are advocating to change and close these cracks where people slip through, because it happens all the time.”

Some immigration consultants violating rules of private refugee sponsorship program

CBC INVESTIGATES

Some immigration consultants violating rules of private refugee sponsorship program

Syrians in Gulf states being asked to pay settlement funds that are supposed to be paid by private sponsors

By Laura Lynch, Ghalia Bdiwe, CBC News Posted: Apr 19, 2016 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Apr 21, 2016 6:00 PM ET

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John McCallum to investigate immigration consultant fees 2:16
CBC News has learned about a troubling aspect of the drive to bring Syrians to Canada: professional immigration consultants, in partnership with some refugee sponsorship groups, are charging refugees thousands of dollars in arrangements that critics say are unethical and violate federal rules on sponsorship.

The immigration consultants have been targeting Syrians living in the Gulf states, many of whom are there on work permits and are able to earn a living. In that sense, they are potentially a more lucrative client base than those in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

The consultants advertise on social media and make visits to the region, setting up shop in five-star hotels.

Arrival at the airport

Edmonton resident Nhung Tran-Davies welcomes a family of Syrian refugees she helped to sponsor in March. Canadians across the country have been raising money to privately sponsor Syrian refugees, but a CBC investigation has found that some Syrians coming from Gulf states are being asked to pay the cost of their resettlement up front by immigration consultants who are also charging thousands of dollars to process their applications. (Terry Reith/CBC)

In the case of one such agency, information available online and documents obtained by CBC News reveal that the consultant is not only charging prospective refugees thousands of dollars to process their applications but also asking them to pay the full cost of their resettlement up front, which violates the financial guidelines of the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program.

“I find it appalling, honestly,” said Toronto lawyer Jackie Swaisland, who is part of a network of lawyers, immigration consultants and law students that has helped hundreds of refugees get to Canada without charging for their services.

Canada has resettled more than 26,000 Syrian refugees since last November, about 9,000 of whom are privately sponsored and another 2,225 of whom receive a combination of government and private funding.

HALIFAX: Iraqi Hassan Al-Awaid helped thousands pretend they were in Canada to get around citizenship rules

Halifax man helped thousands pretend they were in Canada to get around citizenship rules

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Al-Batool Islamic Association in Halifax, which immigration consultant Hassan Al-Awaid was president of. (Google maps)

If anyone dialed the Halifax phone number Mohd Morelley wrote in his application for citizenship as proof he was integrating in Canada, it would ring out in an office on the outskirts of Halifax. Someone might answer, but it wouldn’t be Morelley or his wife or three children, who all wanted to be Canadians.

They were all living in Kuwait.

Along with the bogus phone number, Morelley and his family bought a full-service bogus citizenship package from an immigration consultant, including a Halifax address for a home he never lived in, tax returns and employment records for a job he never held, payment of utility bills he never used, ATM withdrawals to show local transactions he didn’t make and a letter from a local Islamic society saying he was deeply involved in the activities at a mosque he didn’t attend.

My office is one of the famous offices in Nova Scotia

Everything needed to create a pretend life in Canada.

Morelley’s phantom phone — and fake life — were far from unique: more than 140 cell phones, labeled with the number and name of a client, were organized in the Bedford Highway office of the Canadian Commercial Group, run by immigration consultant Hassan Al-Awaid.

Chinese investors claim they were guaranteed immigration to Canada, sue Maple Ridge developer

Chinese investors claim they were guaranteed immigration to Canada

Maple Ridge hotel developer says no one was promised anything in return for investment

By Jason Proctor, CBC News Posted: Dec 11, 2015 5:23 PM PT Last Updated: Dec 11, 2015 5:27 PM PT

Five Chinese investors claim a Maple Ridge developer guaranteed them immigration status in exchange for investment in a hotel.

Five Chinese investors are suing a Maple Ridge, B.C. developer for allegedly guaranteeing them immigration to Canada in exchange for an investment in a proposed hotel.

In two separate British Columbia Supreme Court lawsuits, the plaintiffs claim they agreed to invest a total of $7 million into the project developed by Seiko Huang.

Canada needs proportionate penalties for immigrants caught working illegally

Canada needs proportionate penalties for immigrants caught working illegally

Reis Pagtakhan explains currently, federal government options include deportation or forgiveness

By Reis Pagtakhan, for CBC News Posted: Nov 28, 2015 6:00 AM CT Last Updated: Nov 28, 2015 6:00 AM CT

When two students were deported after working at Walmart for a short period of time, MP Ralph Goodale opposed the removal of these students.

When two students were deported after working at Walmart for a short period of time, MP Ralph Goodale opposed the removal of these students. (CBC)

In 2012, two foreign students from Nigeria were found to have worked illegally for two weeks at a Regina Walmart.

Because of inflexible immigration laws, the only two options the government had was to forgive the violation or kick the two students out of Canada. The government chose to kick them out of Canada.

The local member of Parliament at the time, Ralph Goodale, opposed the removal of these students.

In the House of Commons, Goodale asked the immigration minister to review the students’ cases and “agree to a more proportionate sanction.”

Unlicensed Richmond immigration consultant Xun “Sunny” Wang let hundreds into Canada illegally

Unlicensed Richmond immigration consultant let hundreds into Canada illegally: Crown

DAN FUMANO / RICHMOND NEWS 

SEPTEMBER 17, 2015 05:26 PM

CBSA immigration fraud

Chinese passports were seized by Canadian Border Services Agency after a “significant” fraud scheme was uncovered earlier this year

‘Many, many hundreds” of immigrants obtained Canadian citizenship or permanent residence with the help of an unlicensed immigration consultant in Richmond who made millions altering passports, a court was told Wednesday.

Xun “Sunny” Wang appeared at a sentencing hearing in provincial court in Vancouver after pleading guilty to eight charges in connection with his immigration businesses.

Federal Crown counsel Bruce Harper said “definitely many, many hundreds” and possibly “well over 1,000” of Wang’s clients obtained Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status through Wang’s fraudulent businesses.

“There are certainly a great number of individuals whose status in Canada, whether permanent residence or citizenship, is now in question,” Harper said.

Wang’s businesses served more than 1,000 customers between 2006 and 2013, charging more than $10 million for services, court heard.

Along with six counts under the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, Wang has pleaded guilty to two counts under the Income Tax Act, including failing to report $2,722,305 of taxable income from 2007 to 2012.

And, despite the millions earned by his companies, court heard, Wang also claimed several thousand dollars of low-income tax benefits between 2008 and 2013, which Harper compared to robbing a bank, and then stealing the charitable donation can on the way out.

“It adds insult to injury,” Harper said.

Crown is seeking a sentence of seven and a half years.