Visa-for-cash scheme investigated - Crime - Canoe.ca
Visa-for-cash scheme investigated
By TOM GODFREY, QMI Agency
TORONTO - Federal immigration authorities are probing an alleged visa-for-cash scheme being operated by Polish citizens working at the plush Canadian Embassy in Warsaw.
The award-winning embassy made news last May after two British diplomats were suspended following "an altercation" at in-house bar, the "Beaver Club," which is described as a "a swish drinking space designed for civilized discussion of diplomatic affairs."
The dispute led to a complaint being filed by Canadian diplomats against their British colleagues.
Toronto residents with knowledge of the visa probe said it stems from a scheme in which Canadian visas were allegedly being sold by two Polish citizens, known as locally engaged staff, working in the visa office.
The men who are suspected of selling the documents are not Canadian citizens and play major roles in approving applicants from thousands who apply for visas to travel to Canada.
The embassy also processes cases from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, India, Syria and Lebanon.
"These individuals are privy to very sensitive information from applicants," one Toronto source said. "They have a lot of power and they are not even Canadians."
QMI Agency has obtained a letter outlining the allegations that was sent to the RCMP and immigration officials.
A senior department official responded to the allegations stating an investigation is underway and requested further information.
Immigration spokesman Melanie Carkner said on Friday the department is not aware of any allegations of malfeasance at the embassy.
"Should someone want to come forward and make an official complaint, we will not hesitate to take the necessary action," Carkner said.
The three-storey embassy was constructed of French limestone and aluminium and won architectural awards when it opened in 2001.
Foreign affairs and immigration officials in Ottawa refused to comment on an ongoing investigation.
The RCMP were called in 2006 to probe another immigration scam at the embassy after allegations that dozens of Poles were sent to Canada illegally without background checks.