I hope the new Federal government will finally deal with this pervasive problem, rather than use it for political expediency.
B.C. residents rally against immigration fraud
By Andy Ivens, Postmedia News
April 24, 2011
SURREY, B.C. — Dozens of people rallied against immigration fraud in the Vancouver suburb of Surrey on Sunday, calling for stronger sanctions against fraudulent immigration consultants.
Turban-clad protesters held up signs saying: “Don’t fall in visa trap,” “I want my parents to live with me,” and “Warning — visa scam.”
Balvir Singh Dhalival, secretary of the group South Asian Immigration and Marriage Fraud Victims Society (SAIM), said about 1,000 people in B.C. have been stung by the dubious antics of fraudsters in the lucrative business.
“The problem is at the (federal) government level,” Dhalival said at the rally.
The government requires immigration consultants to be licensed, Dhalival noted, but bad apples keep preying on innocent newcomers eager to reunite their families in Canada.
In one case, a victim has been waiting for an immigration fraud to be punished for three years, he said.
“The government hasn’t done anything so far,” Dhalival alleged.
“(Immigration consultants) are taking people’s money and they promise they can get your relatives (into Canada),” he said.
“They make a promise and do nothing.”
He estimates victims are often defrauded out of $15,000 to $20,000.
“We are suggesting to Jason Kenney there should be a bond,” said Dhalival. Kenney, currently a Conservative MP in Alberta, was immigration minister before the election was called.
If consultants were required to post a $1-million bond to ensure they operate ethically, the problem would be curbed, he said.
He estimated SAIM was following 1,000 cases of fraud in B.C. last year.
“I hope the government listens to us and the voters listen, too,” said Dhalival.
Attempts to reach a spokesperson for the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants were unsuccessful on Sunday.