Wednesday, October 31, 2007


In a new report, Canada's Auditor General warns that security at the border is lax ( no big surprise), and that many unsavoury individuals, including criminals and terrorists, have made their way to Canada taking advantage of the lax procedures. The report also faults the refugee system in particular as a major problem area.
Canada's auditor general warns that border agents have allowed 'high risk' people into country

The Associated Press
Tuesday, October 30, 2007

TORONTO: Canadian border agents have allowed "high-risk" people and goods to slip into the country due to inadequate screening systems and procedures, Canada's federal auditor general said Tuesday.
Canada Border Services Agency officers failed to take a closer look at numerous travellers and shipments flagged as possible risks on watch lists because a new high-tech system "is not working as intended" and procedures are sometimes lax, Sheila Fraser said.
Such watch lists are compiled based on intelligence information, past customs seizures and immigration violations and are issued to border guards, but agents have sometimes failed to check them and have failed to use all the information available to them
According to Fraser, an average of 13 percent of customs warnings and 21 percent of immigration warnings from January to March of this year were not examined further.
The agency has, for example, developed pre-approval programs that enable low-risk travellers to get across the border quickly. But, unlike their U.S. counterparts, Canadian border guards do not consider intelligence reports in assessing applicants.
Fraser added that the agency must do spot inspections. "They are focusing all of their inspections now on cases that they identify as high risk, and the only way to really ensure the system is effective is if you do these random checks," she said.
Each year, the Canada Border Services Agency's officers allow 96 million people into Canada, including tourists, immigrants and refugees, business people and returning Canadians. They also approve entry of more than C$400 billion (US$419 billion) in goods.
Fraser also noted that weaknesses in the agency's data collection systems prevent it from confirming which risks are most important.
"The agency has not established its desired levels of border openness and security and, as a result, cannot know whether it is achieving them."
The auditor general has linked some of these problems to recent overhauls of the system and poor management, with the auditor general's report saying that C$525 million invested in technology in the past three years "had not been guided by a strategic plan for information technology or information management."

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Job program fuels fraud fears

Highly touted provincial initiative that fast-tracks skilled immigrants is being abused, report says

October 29, 2007

A highly touted immigration program that allows provinces to hand-pick skilled immigrants to meet their labour needs is also exposing Canada to a high risk of fraud, according to an internal report obtained by the Star.
The Provincial Nominee Program gives provinces discretion to pre-select investors, entrepreneurs and skilled workers with job offers for fast-track processing, dramatically cutting the wait to immigrate from as long as five years to just a few months.
"Unfortunately, PNP applications continue to be our most time consuming in terms of fraud, thus having a negative impact on processing times," says the Canadian visa office in Beijing in an internal report to the immigration department.
"Another important issue," it adds, "is the problem of so called `economic fugitives.' The business caseload is typically comprised of rich applicants claiming to have made very large sums of money ... It has proven very difficult under those circumstances to differentiate between the legitimate, if unusually fortunate, businessman and those who may have obtained their wealth improperly."
It's not clear how many "nominees" may actually have succeeded in getting to Canada fraudulently, but more than 95 per cent of last year's crop were approved by federal immigration officials.
Nominee programs have become vital in the booming Western provinces, which face a serious shortage of skilled workers and investors and are eager to increase their quotas. Ontario launched a pilot program in May, with plans to nominate 450 skilled workers and 50 entrepreneurs/investors in its first year.
The number of newcomers arriving through such programs has tripled in three years, from 4,400 in 2003 to more than 13,300 last year.
Sources say visa offices where fraudulent applications have become a big problem include Beijing, New Delhi, Islamabad and Kiev.
"Although the attraction of Canada for qualified skilled workers has diminished, strong push factors remain for those whom China's economic progress has not brought substantial gains," says the Beijing report.
"Consequently the level of fraud ... remains high. Organized fraud is endemic in the PNP program and marriages with Canadians and permanent residents are openly advertised as a means of gaining entry to Canada."
Toronto immigration consultant Ron Guan says most frauds involve fake documents, primarily because Canadian officials rely on China's own public notary office to verify their authenticity.
"I've seen unqualified people being accepted and well-qualified people being rejected by the PNP program. There have been nominee candidates who use the orientation opportunity to enter Canada and file refugee claims," notes Guan, who has been a consultant for 17 years and has two offices in China.
"The PNP is a great program," he adds, "but the provinces have a lower par than the federal officials and they count on the feds to scrutinize the candidates who appear to fit the needs. They need to communicate better and must always ask candidates for original documents, not just the notarized copies."
First introduced in Manitoba in 1998 as a way of drawing immigrants to settle outside the usual gateway cities, the program involves a two-step process. Applicants must pass provincial background and qualification screening before proceeding to the federal medical, security and criminal clearances overseas.
"To immigrate to Canada through the federal program, you have to get 67 points to qualify. What happens is, for a lot of people, the only way to come in is through the PNP program. And unfortunately, it also attracts fraudsters," explains Quebec immigration lawyer Richard Kurland. "The program allows construction workers, truck drivers and labourers to come in, but how do you assess those skills and qualifications?"
Administrators of Ontario's PNP program say they have found no evidence of attempted fraud and are pleased with the quality of the applications. The program has several "anti-fraud" components:
Special non-copy paper on which nomination certificates and pre-screen approval forms are printed.
Affidavits provided by both the employer and nominee to reduce misrepresentation or fraud.
A stipulation that providing false or misleading information will result in an applicant being refused and disqualified permanently.
"We are confident that we have the necessary anti-fraud safeguards in place to protect the integrity of our pilot PNP program," says program manager Alan Diner. British Columbia's seven-year-old program processes skilled workers in four months and entrepreneurs within 18 months. Program manager Michael Chew says his 16-member staff's strict front-end screening helps drive up approval rates.
"The key is to deal with the credible employers only," he notes. "To qualify for the program, an employer must have a good track record and a minimum of five employees. It has to be in operation for at least one year."
Manitoba's nominee program is the centrepiece of its strategy to reverse its declining economic and population growth. It accepted 6,600 nominees last year.
These workers have helped meet needs in agriculture, construction and manufacturing, and eased shortages of meat-cutters and truck drivers.
"Frauds are usually associated with paid third-party representatives.
``To avoid frauds, (our staff) refuse to deal with them. You have to pick your source countries carefully and avoid places that are known for a high level of fraudulent activities," explains Ben Rempel, Manitoba's assistant deputy minister of labour and immigration.


Here is a warning note: delays at the Passport Office are getting worse. You should allow AT LEAST SIX WEEKS to renew your passport, even with the simplified process.

Delays plague passport office
It takes at least six weeks to get document by mail, two weeks longer than benchmark

The Canadian Press
October 29, 2007 at 5:42 AM EDT

OTTAWA — Passport Canada is reporting continued long delays in processing mailed-in passport applications, despite a streamlined renewal process and hundreds of new employees.
And there is concern those delays will only get longer as the busy winter travel season approaches.
Officials blame a glut of new applicants for the delays, as demand for the documents continues to soar.
It now takes a minimum of six weeks to get a passport through the mail; two weeks longer than the agency's benchmark of four weeks.
And that doesn't include the time it takes to get applications and documents through Canada Post.
Passport Canada spokesman Fabien Lengelle said many more people have applied for passports in the past six months than applied within the same period last year.
"The reason we have delays is that we have a very, very high demand," Mr. Lengelle said.
In October, 2006, Passport Canada was issuing about 13,000 passports a day. By late last spring, that number had reached 21,000.
Since the start of April, the beginning of the fiscal year, the agency has issued 2.2 million passports, a 42-per-cent increase from the same period in 2006-2007 when just 1.5 million were issued.
In June, then-foreign affairs minister Peter MacKay announced measures to speed up the processing of passport applications, including a simplified renewal process.
At the time, there was a backlog of roughly 170,000 applications.
Since then, Passport Canada has hired nearly 700 new employees, raising the number of passport officers and clerks to the equivalent of more than 2,600 full-time personnel.
Agency officials won't divulge the size of the current backlog, arguing that the number fluctuates from day to day.
"[Backlog] is not a very accurate measure," Mr. Lengelle said. "Demand is the true driver here."
The new renewal process, which came into effect Aug. 15, allows Canadians to renew their passports without getting guarantors, as long as their current passport is less than a year from expiry and has never been lost or stolen.
Traditionally, the busiest time of year for Passport Canada is the period from Nov. 1 through the end of March.
The agency is preparing for a further upswing in demand, but acknowledges delays could lengthen. "It all depends on demand," Mr. Lengelle said. "If demand goes above capacity, then we will have [further] delays," he added.
"Passport Canada is doing everything it can to raise its capacity to a level where we will be able to meet demand over the coming months."
The agency has been able to maintain a two-week timetable for processing applications delivered in person at passport offices.
As well, Canadians who can apply in person, are willing to pay more and who can prove they will be travelling sooner, can get a passport within 24 hours on an urgent basis, or through Passport Canada's "express" service.
But that doesn't help the thousands of Canadians who have no choice but to use the mail system to obtain travel documents.
Demand for passports has increased dramatically since the United States imposed rules requiring them for air travellers. Similar rules are expected to be in place as early as next summer for land travel across the U.S. border.
In the United States, demand also peaked earlier this year from Americans seeking passports, causing significant disruptions to some people's summer travel plans.
But the State Department announced last month it had worked through a massive backlog of passport applications and that its processing times were back to normal after months of major delays.
However, the normal waiting period for a standard passport application in the United States is six to eight weeks - three weeks for expedited service. U.S. officials deal with 17 million passport applications annually.


Here is a new Statistics Canada Study: daughters of immigrants do better than sons. Thsi appears to be true even after considering regional differences. No apparent explanation for this phenomenon is offered, though...See article:

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


As co-Chair of the International Bar Association (IBA) Immigration and nationality Committee, I had the privilege of moderating an interesting session on Global Business Immigration at the conference in Singapore last week. I also participated in several other sessions, some attended by high-ranking government officials from Hong Kong and Singapore. I was also invited to a private reception hosted by the President of Singapore at the Istana Palace.


Canadians want illegal immigrants deported: poll
By Jack Aubry The CanWest News Service (Canada), October 20, 2007
Ottawa -- A majority of Canadians believe immigrants who are in the country illegally or after their visas expire should be deported, even if they have family ties in the country, a newly released government poll shows. Conducted for Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the national poll revealed that respondents didn't make a distinction between 'undocumented workers' and 'workers without the proper work permits,' with nearly two-thirds of Canadians coming down hard on illegal immigrants because they did not follow the rules. 'Half say that they feel the same way about immigrants who have studied in Canada and have the potential to contribute to this country but who are now here illegally because their visas have run out,' said the poll summary. As well, a slight majority said immigrants who did not go through the proper application process should be deported despite the existence of family members already in the country. Prof. Peter Showler, director of the Refugee Forum at the University of Ottawa, said it is a 'very high Canadian value' to oppose queue-jumping by anyone in the country, including immigrants. 'We are a very civil society and we like the idea that people should play by the rules, and we don't like it when there are rule-breakers and I think that has been a fairly consistent view,' said Mr. Showler. However, he added that Canadians are very 'schizophrenic' on the issue and once personal details about an immigrant, who is about to be deported, become public through the media, they often become extremely supportive. He said estimates on the number of illegal immigrants in Canada generally range from 35,000 to 120,000 -- a relatively small percentage of the national population when compared to 13 million in the United States. The federal government is releasing its latest survey as the heated debate over reasonable accommodation of minorities, which started in Quebec, spreads across the country, drawing in issues of multiculturalism and immigration. The Conservative government promised in the throne speech to bring in legislation forcing voters to show their faces when casting ballots. Residents in Quebec, at 70%, were much more likely to mention 'reasonable accommodation' than any other region in Canada, where no more than five per cent cited this response when asked to mention aspects of immigration in the news. The Quebec government is currently holding hearings into reasonable accommodation across the province. In the poll, Canadians identified both the positive and negative aspects of immigration. The pro-immigration aspects were identified as giving a boost to the workforce by bringing in more labourers and highly skilled people while increasing cultural diversity. 'Negative aspects identified include the perception that there is a lack of integration in that immigrants are imposing their culture instead of adapting to ours, the desire of immigrants to have Canada accommodate them, the impact that immigration has on Canadian culture and the notion that immigrants groups tend to stay together and not mix with the rest of society,' said the poll report. The survey also found that despite Canadians' limited understanding of biometrics, three of five support their use once the effectiveness against the fraudulent use of identity documents is explained. 'They say that the federal government's main priority... should be maintaining security rather than protecting privacy,' said the report. In fact, 80% of the respondents predicted by the year 2010 that every adult will have at least one biometric ID on file somewhere to verify their identity. Overall, just over half of Canadians said that there are about the right number of immigrants coming to Canada while 27% said there were too many. The poll report, which was completed in May, involved 1,200 telephone interviews with adult Canadians and carries a margin of error of 2.8%, 19 times out of 20. It was the first time the government had asked questions about deporting illegal immigrants in Canada. The poll cost about $40,000.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


It seems that the geniuses from the Parti Quebecois (PQ) who gave Quebec the disastrous language laws in the 1980s , with the infamous Bill 101 and the creation of the French "language police", are at it again. They now propose Bill 195, imposing the requirement to speak French to achieve "Quebec citizenship". This is another bright idea from the same party who drove all major corporate headquarters out of Montreal with its ridiculous nationalist policies. I think these people should get out a bit more, they obviously do not understand free market economics and their policies will significantly reduce immigration by qualified people to problem....who wants to move to Quebec to put up with this nonsense and be taxed to the hilt, when they can go to Alberta, make way more money, and pay lower taxes? Makes no sense whatsoever. See story:

Monday, October 22, 2007


Hello from Hong Kong! Citizenship and Immigration Minister Diane Finlay is going to spend a week in India assessing Canada Immigration operations.....well....that is nice....but I fail to see why it is necessary, as it obvious that things are a disaster in India and China: it takes three to five years to process Skilled Workers ( unless they are Provincial nominees or they have Arranged Employment), and that is unacceptable.....unless, of course we want mediocre immigrants who are willing to wait because they can't migrate elsewhere, rather than the best ones, who will go where the processing is faster ( i.e. Australia) or the salaries higher ( i.e. US), or the taxes lower (i.e. Hong Kong and Singapore) does not take a genius to figure this one out! See story:

Monday, October 15, 2007


Hello from beautiful and VERY HOT Singapore, where I am attending the IBA annual conference and moderating sessions with lawyers from all over the world.There are over 3,000 lawyers in attendance and our Immigration and Nationality Committee, of which I am co-Chair, will be running four sessions on interesting topics concerning global immigration matters. More to come soon......stay tuned!

Thursday, October 11, 2007


France's daily Le Figaro is reporting that a suspect who may be responsible for a synagogue bombing nearly 30 years ago by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) may now be in Canada.....not surprising....Mahmood Mohammed Issa Mohammed , a noted PFLP terrorist is in Canada too, fighting deportation since 1988....Time to take out the trash.See story

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Hello from Hong Kong. I am on my way to the International Bar Association (IBA) conference in Singapore. On my way there, I just read the local news today and Hong Kong ishowing us how to attract talent: the local government is CUTTING TAXES , both personal and corporate, and spending a massive amount of money in infrastructure projects in the coming years, which will create 250,000 jobs. Now, that is what I call forward thinking! No wonder the most talented people in the world come to Hong Kong to do business!

Friday, October 5, 2007


The self-styled Mexican "refugees" (Illegals who have lived in the US for years) are wrecking havoc on cities along the Canada -US border, and now are expecting Toronto taxpayers and shelters to support them. Thanks to our naive politicians who are allowing these people to enter Canada, we are all going to have to pay ....and the ones who will pay the mos tare the hundreds of homeless people in Toronto who desperately need social services with the approaching winter. Message to Ottawa: impose a VISA on Mexico NOW!!!!!!! Or should we wait until the entire illegal population of Texas moves to Ontario? They know how to play the game: "play until there is no recourse, milk the system for all it is worth, and then when the jig is up, go underground...because Canadians are naive and will never kick is out". Please...stop this now before it becomes a deluge. See the CBC story below ( even the usually left-wing CBC can see the potential disaster looming!)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


The current surge on the number of illegal aliens residing in the US and attempting to enter Canada to claim "refugee status" seems to be cantered in the Naples, FL, area. A self-styled "humanitarian" (who, incidentally, charges Haitian migrants for his services) seems to be one of the persons responsible for spreading the rumour that Canada is the land of milk and honey for those illegally in the US , who head North after many years there, claiming to be "refugees'. The Naples Daily News run an editorial on the subject yesterday ( link below). What should Canada be doing? Obviously the claimants are hardly "refugees" fleeing persecution, after spending many years in the US. they are coming to Canada to take advantage of generous health and social services, which they have been conveniently trained to ask for. These bogus claimants are clogging the system (that is part of the game), and making waiting times longer for legitimate refugees, not to mention overtaxing border communities. I say detain them, expedite their hearings, and if they fail, deport them without delay. The message will travel fast back to the US and the trend will stop. Nip this problem in the bud. This is absurd. Canada is not a dump site for US rejects. This is a planned and deliberate attempt by some profiteers portraying themselves as "humanitarians" to flaunt the law. Stop this now ...or get ready for massive numbers of the so-called "refugees" from the US.

Monday, October 1, 2007


This article appeared on the weekend in the St. Petersburg Times , FL, and it should serve as a warning to all those who are being duped by unscrupulous immigration consultants who promise"asylum" in Canada for illegals currently in the US :

Canada offers illegal immigrants no easy asylum

Illegal immigrants hear that they will be welcomed. Instead, they may be deported.

By SAUNDRA AMRHEIN, Times Staff WriterPublished September 30, 2007

NAPLES -- After years of waiting, Daniel Gaspar was finally hearing what he thought impossible.
The Guatemalan man could get asylum. Not here in the United States, but in Canada.
Sitting in a crowded Bonita Springs church, Gaspar listened as a man explained how he had helped Haitians make the move, and how he also could help Hispanics, like Gaspar.
Frustrated by dead ends with his case and fearful of stepped-up immigration raids, Gaspar packed his bags.
"I've been here so many years, if they offer me hope, I'm willing to sell everything here to start new," he told friends.
Gaspar, 30, is one of hundreds of illegal immigrants, mostly Mexicans from southwest Florida, who have streamed into Canada the past several weeks. Many, like Gaspar, were sent by Jacques Sinjuste, general director of the Jerusalem Haitian Community Center Inc. of Naples.
The allure is great: Sinjuste promises they'll find legal work, free from worry about immigration raids. They'll also get help with rent and living expenses until they're on their feet.
Mexican immigrants who made the trip in the past month have called back to friends and family with good news. It's all true, they say. Canadians put them up at the Ramada Inn, helped them find a place to live, even brought them breakfast.
What they don't know is their good fortune is temporary -- maybe a year or so. Canadian officials say some immigrants do get living assistance and a work permit, but only because their refugee applications are pending. Some get deported immediately.
Chances of a permanent stay are slim, they said.
Gaspar, who lived in the United States for 16 years after fleeing war-torn Guatemala, abandoned his lawn care business, bought a $287 plane ticket to Vermont and paid the Haitian man $400 for his paperwork.
Within a week of crossing into Canada in a taxi, Gaspar was deported to Guatemala.
Canadian officials told him they were puzzled by his paperwork, he said.
"They are not sure what is the law," Gaspar said of the Haitian center from his family's home in Guatemala. "They should tell people the truth. I know they are making a lot of money."
Long-term impact
The recent influx has sparked concern in Canada, where officials worry that U.S. immigration woes could start spilling across the border.
If the rumor spreads unfettered, Canada could be overwhelmed, said Janet Dench, executive director of the Canadian Council for Refugees.
"What the people in Canada are worried about is the long-term impact," she said.
Even 1 percent of 12-million illegal immigrants estimated to be in the United States would make a huge impact, she said.
Lucas Benitez of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers has been trying to warn immigrants.
"Don't believe it and don't pay hundreds of dollars," Benitez tells the listeners of the coalition's low-wattage radio station.
He says immigrants walk into the coalition's office off Main Street looking for paperwork to apply for Canadian refugee status and citizenship.
Every few years a new scam turns up, he said. Immigrants are particularly vulnerable now, he added, because of the failed immigration reform bill and stepped up enforcement.
In August, the Collier County Sheriff's Office trained 20 deputies to enforce immigration law.
But Benitez is one of the few voices competing against a wave of misinformation.
Now it's not just the Haitian center offering help to get to Canada. Others around Florida promise the same.
Down Main Street in Immokalee, tucked into a law office for workers' compensation, Gloria Hernandez works as a paralegal.
She praised the program in the local Spanish-language weekly Gaceta Tropical. She saw it with her own eyes, she said in the mid September edition.
Hernandez, who heads the newly formed Immigrants United for a Free Immokalee, decided to make the trip because many workers were asking questions about paperwork filled out by the Haitian center.
She didn't know what to tell them.
So she followed two trucks and a van full of immigrants headed to Canada with paperwork and a map provided by the Haitian center. She watched them cross the border, she said.
Hernandez said she talked to a Canadian border crossing guard who told her that Canada was admitting the immigrants as refugees. So she came back and started holding community meetings in Immokalee to spread the word.
Lawyers and other community activists around west-central Florida have been calling her for more information about the program, she said.
When told by a St. Petersburg Times reporter what Canadian officials had to say, she was alarmed.
"I need to know so I can tell workers that," she said. "I don't want to get them deported."
To worker Miguel Orea, Canada was still the promised land.
If immigrants get deported after a year of living and working legally in Canada, that's still better than what they find in Florida, he said.
"There's no work here," Orea, 22, said recently, standing outside Radio Road Plaza in Naples.
He and three other men, all in soiled shirts, work in construction, where jobs have all but dried up, they said.
Orea said his friends paid the Haitian center $400 each for paperwork for themselves and their three children. They left last month.
Overwhelmed Ontario
Complaints have led the Collier County Sheriff's Office to launch an investigation into Sinjuste and the Haitian center.
Sinjuste, a Haitian immigrant who founded the nonprofit in 2000, did not return calls.
However, earlier this month he told the New York Times he did not encourage immigrants to seek asylum in Canada. He merely helped them fill out forms, describing the $400 they paid as a "donation."
Dench of the Canadian Council for Refugees said she has been tracking complaints regarding the Haitian center for more than a year.
"They had on their Web site that we had an 'economic refugee program,'" she said. The center took that down after complaints, she added.
Eddie Francis, mayor of Windsor, Ontario, said Sinjuste flew up to meet with him Friday.
The two men spoke about how the influx of 300-plus immigrants has overwhelmed the city of 220,000.
Men were put up in Salvation Army shelters. Families were placed in hotels until the city could make other arrangements.
They receive help until their case is heard. Because of a backlog, that can take more than a year, Francis said.
"You need to communicate with people that their possibilities of settling here are low," Francis said he told Sinjuste. "He said he doesn't want to hurt anyone or cause problems and that he's going to go down there and tell people it's not a good situation."
Francis has asked Canada's federal authorities for financial assistance, as well as help to speed up the refugee hearings.
Windsor and its province have spent more than $300,000 on lodging and other assistance, "a significant drain," he said.
"That's why the federal government needs to play a role," he said. "If they choose not to act immediately, there is going to be the wrong message to send out and there's going to be more of this taking place in more cities across the country."
Saundra Amrhein can be reached at or (813) 661-2441.

FAST FACTS: Canadian immigration policy
Immigrants trying to obtain refugee status in Canada must show a "well-founded fear of being persecuted" for reasons connected to their race, nationality, religion, political opinion or certain social group membership. Immigrants from certain countries also can be protected from return to their home country if they can show risk of torture, death or cruel punishment.
In 2006, 28 percent of Mexican immigrants who applied for Canadian refugee status received it, compared to 53 percent of Haitians who applied and 47 percent for all groups.
For the first half of 2007, the number for Mexican refugee applicants admitted was just 13 percent.
Immigrants from eight countries, including Haiti, are not sent back to their countries if they are denied because of the turmoil there. Mexico is not on that list.
The current lag time between the date a refugee application is accepted until a decision is made by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada is 14.2 months.
Source: Stephane Malepart, spokesman for the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.