Saturday, May 19, 2012


Immigration consultants charged in connection with allegedly assisting in misrepresentation of  citizenship applicants' residency requirements.

Needless to say, citizenship fraud is a very serious matter.  Applicants are sometimes tempted to hide their trips abroad, or to make it look as if they are residing in Canada when in fact they are not. That is an offence under current immigration legislation.Applicants are cautioned never to participate in misrepresentations, even where their "advisers" may suggest to them that they are common or "normal" .  That is simply not so, and consequences can be dire.

See National Post article:

Immigration fraud: Canada 2000 Immigration and Business Services CEO, employees charged | News | National Post

Halifax consulting firm members charged with aiding immigration fraud: CBSA

Stewart Bell  May 18, 2012 – 2:36 PM ET | Last Updated: May 18, 2012 6:33 PM ET
Ziad El Shurafa’s immigration consulting firm in Halifax proclaimed on its website that since 1999 it had “helped hundreds of people pursue their dreams” of coming to Canada to live, work and study.

But on Friday federal authorities alleged that what Mr. El Shurafa and his two associates, Mohammed Elhajabed and Awni Sakalla, had done was help foreigners defraud Canada’s immigration system.

The CEO of Canada 2000 Immigration and Business Services Inc., Mr. El Shurafa was charged with eight counts of counselling misrepresentation. Mr. Elhajabed also faces eight counts while Mr. Sakalla faces two.

The Canada Border Services Agency said the men had helped clients who lived abroad create the appearance they were residing in Canada, thereby enabling them to obtain Canadian citizenship without living here.

Each count relates to a single family the suspects allegedly helped commit residency fraud, but investigators examined more than 500 files. The charges stem from activities dating back as far as January 2006. Investigators raided Mr. El Shurafa’s company in May 2011 but charges were only filed last week.

“Immigration fraud is a criminal offence in Canada and damages the integrity of our immigration system,” said Andrew LeFrank, CBSA’s director for the Atlantic region. “The CBSA takes this issue very seriously and works closely with its partners to identify, investigate and prosecute those engaging in immigration fraud to the full extent of the law.”

All three accused are citizens of Canada. They face penalties of up to $100,000 in fines and five years imprisonment for each count. Only Mr. Sakalla has been arrested. The other two remain outside Canada. The Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants has revoked Mr. El Shurafa’s status.

According to the Canada 2000 website, Mr. El Shurafa runs the Dubai office. The company also says it has offices in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Beirut and Jordan. Corporations Canada lists Mr. El Shurafa as the company’s sole director.

The charges are part of a nationwide crackdown on immigration fraud. Jason Kenney, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has publicly declared his government would take action against thousands who have obtained Canadian citizenship by fraud.

In March, RCMP arrested an immigration lawyer and her assistant in Windsor, Ont., who had allegedly been coaching refugee claimants to give fake accounts of their pasts. Last year in Quebec, RCMP arrested an immigration consultant accused of providing citizenship and immigration papers to hundreds of Middle East residents who then collected tax benefits from Ottawa.

“It’s a national priority for Canada Border Services Agency,” said Albert Price, manager of criminal investigations at the CBSA’s Atlantic Region. Those migrants found to have obtained their status in Canada through fraud may ultimately lose their residency and citizenship, he said.

National Post

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