This week, the RCMP charged two people with offences under section 29(2)(a) of the Citizenship Act for allegedly attempting to mislead Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) into believing they met the residence requirements to obtain Canadian citizenship. CIC officials referred this matter to the RCMP and cooperated in the investigation.
These cases are just two examples of individuals creating the appearance that they were residing in Canada in order to keep their permanent resident status and ultimately attempt to acquire citizenship.
Last week, I announced that the Government of Canada is investigating 6,500 people from more than a hundred countries for misrepresenting their residence in Canada. CIC has begun the process to revoke the citizenship of up to 2,100 citizens who obtained it fraudulently and has flagged the files of nearly 4,400 permanent residents known to be implicated in residence fraud should they attempt to enter Canada or obtain citizenship.
Canadian citizenship is valuable and Canadians have no tolerance for those who commit fraud to obtain citizenship.
We will apply the full strength of Canadian law to deal with this fraud. Consequences for citizenship fraud may include criminal prosecution, revocation of citizenship and removal from Canada. Permanent residents who commit fraud may lose their permanent resident status and may be subject to removal from Canada.
There are a number of other ongoing police investigations regarding potential residence fraud across Canada. Our focus is on early detection and we have prevented a number of permanent residents from fraudulently obtaining citizenship as a result of these investigations.
It will take time to work through all the cases and take appropriate action. However, the government has already made significant progress in dealing with residence fraud.
CIC and its partners, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the RCMP, and Canadian offices abroad have already removed or denied admittance to nearly 200 former permanent residents, and have denied about 360 citizenship applications where the applicants do not meet the residence requirements. In addition, over 200 notices of intent to revoke citizenship have been issued to those who have managed to obtain Canadian citizenship fraudulently.
I urge anyone who has information regarding citizenship fraud to call CIC’s tip line to report it and protect the value of Canadian citizenship for those who legitimately obtain citizenship.