By ,Toronto Sun
First posted: | Updated:

Immigration lawyer Sergio Karas (ALEX UROSEVIC, Toronto Sun)
Giving failed refugee claimants thousands of dollars to return home could make Canada’s “broken” immigration system vulnerable to even more abuse, says an immigration expert.
Herbert Grubel, of the Fraser Institute, called the federal government’s plan to give failed refugee claimants $2,000 each as incentive to leave Canada promptly will attract fraudulent claimants and unscrupulous immigration consultants looking for a payday.
“The idea is right, but ... it will also create the wrong incentive, (with) more people coming here and making claims they know are questionable,” said Grubel, who recently wrote a paper on the “huge fiscal burden” immigrants have on Canadians.
The Canadian government plans next June to implement the Assisted Voluntary Returns program, where failed claimants in a 2012 pilot project will receive a financial incentive of $2,000 to leave Canada.
The money would be sent to a non-governmental organization in a failed refugee’s respective country, according to the plan. The organization would provide the cash to the claimant upon their return to use for business pursuits, education or vocational training, confirmed a spokesman for Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.
The project will be aimed at more than 1,900 failed claimants, costing taxpayers $12 million.
Grubel conceded the plan might “get some people to go back home who would otherwise hang around and burden our justice system.” However, he argued there’s no telling how many more will take advantage of Canada’s healthcare and welfare systems while they wait for a decision by the Immigration and Refugee Board.
Immigration lawyer Sergio Karas called the program a slap in the face to the process.
“This is bad policy because it undermines the rule of law,” Karas said. “People who have had the right to due process, have gone through the system and have been determined to not to have a valid claim should not be paid for obeying a deportation order.”
Karas insisted such a program will attract scammers looking to cash in. The United Kingdom’s controversial incentive program is a good example, he said.
The United Kingdom’s Daily Mail reported in 2007 that failed refugee claimants had been receiving over $6,400 each to return to their country of origin. After returning home, some used the money to open businesses such as a beauty salon, a vineyard and an ostrich farm.