Hello friends I was reading newspapers today and I found very interesting news article on thestar.com
Canadian Immigration and Canadian Border Security agencies are now going after the people who use Canadians citizens as key to get inside Canada faking their love stories and hurting poor innocent Canadiens emotionaly and financialy.
She lives in northern India and dreams of moving to a city called Toronto. She has some family there.
And she knows how to get there with no long wait and a minimum of paperwork: All she has to do is find a Canadian to marry her.
Once married, she is granted permanent resident status. Once in Canada, all she needs to do to begin her new life is abandon him.
The entire ugly process can be completed in a matter of months. That’s how easy it is.
And the consequences? Almost none. Those who marry fraudulently are rarely deported.
“It’s one of the biggest challenges for immigration,” said Richard Kurland, Vancouver-based veteran immigration policy analyst and immigration lawyer. “The problem knows no colour, no language.”
“The only people getting hurt are Canadians — in their hearts and their wallets,” he said.
Hundreds of fraudulent marriages take place every year. Citizenship and Immigration Canada acknowledges roughly 1,000 such cases are reported annually. In 2009, nearly 45,000 people immigrated to Canada as spouses.
“These are complicated cases,” said Doug Kellam, an immigration spokesman. “It is tough to prove bad faith by a sponsored partner.”
A bad-faith relationship must meet two criteria — that it is not genuine and that it was entered into to obtain immigration status.
CIC and Canada Border Services Agency do investigate immigration-related fraud but fraudulent marriages aren’t really a priority. Their main focus is on issues of national security.
CBSA has eight officers to investigate bad-faith marriages. There are about 350 immigration enforcement officers across Canada.
Last year, CBSA deported 14,762 people, said Patrizia Giolti, spokesperson for the agency. But there are no statistics on how many people are deported because of “misrepresentation,” she added.
“I bet none were related to fraudulent marriages,” said Sam Benet, president of Canadians Against Immigration Fraud.
The Toronto-based non-profit organization, which boasts almost 200 members across Canada, came into being after Benet’s son, Saranjeet Benet, was allegedly abandoned by his wife days after she arrived in Canada from India.
The organization launched a class-action lawsuit in 2009 against the federal government for failing to investigate and deport foreigners who trick Canadians into marriages of convenience.
At least 70 per cent of the cases are from South Asia, he said.
“It’s not a new phenomenon . . . foreigners have been defrauding us for years but what has the government done? Nothing,” said Benet, whose family is still scarred by what happened years ago. “She divided our family. . . it can never be the same again for us.”
Abandoned spouses are angry about what happened to them but they also worry they could be on the hook for thousands of dollars.
Fraudulent marriage or not, a Canadian sponsor remains obligated financially to a foreign spouse for up to three years under the terms of sponsorship. That means if the spouse ends up on government assistance, the sponsor must repay the government and risks being denied future sponsorships.
Even if they divorce, the Canadian sponsor remains financially obligated if the spouse goes on welfare.
The sponsorship period was 10 years but it was reduced to three years a couple of years ago.
In some cases, the government has asked sponsors to cough up as much as $100,000.
“Imagine being asked to pay money for a fiancée who has abandoned you?” said Jeff Vanderhorst. “That would be brutal.”
The Amherstburg, Ont.-native met Yennis Escobar Pompa in Cuba in 1999. Four years later, he sponsored her to Canada as his fiancée.
In three weeks, she disappeared, said Vanderhorst, now 48.
He complained to immigration and border services numerous times that Pompa had broken the terms of sponsorship, which specified the couple had to marry within 90 days.
Nothing was done, he said.
In the next couple of years, he discovered that she had obtained permanent residency and was living on welfare in Montreal.
No claim has yet been made on him but Vanderhorst, who is still angry about how immigration handled his case, is on the hook until 2013.
Seven years after she disappeared, he’s still very bitter. “I don’t trust women. . . . Yes, I am still hung up about it,” he said. “Until it happens to you, you'll never know how it hurts.”
Fraudulent marriages hurt Canadians the most and immigration laws need to be tightened, say some experts.
One proposal is to introduce a provisional visa valid for two years for new spouses. “Australia has it, so does the U.S.,” pointed out Julie Taub, an immigration lawyer.
Under this provision, if the marriage is still intact after the second year, the immigrating spouse can apply for a permanent visa.
It doesn’t eliminate the problem “but does make it slightly tougher for people to plan elaborate marriage frauds,” said Richard Kurland.
Not everyone agrees.
There are concerns that a temporary visa would force women to stay in abusive relationships.
“It creates a class of vulnerable people living in Canada,” said Rudolf Kischer, a well-known immigration lawyer in Vancouver.
He believes people need to be educated about the pitfalls of marrying outside Canada.
Those who get permanent status in Canada through fraud are eventually able to sponsor their own family members, said Taub.
It’s what she calls chain migration based on an original fraud.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada is planning to tighten policies to prevent people from gaining permanent residency through marriage fraud, said spokesperson Doug Kellam.
The sponsorship program is hard on some people and “minister (Jason) Kenney is looking at changes,” said Kellam. “He is consulting with different groups and looking at how the law might be structured to deal with this kind of a situation.”
Vanderhorst says he’ll be very happy if the law is overhauled.
“It won’t change anything for me personally but it’ll be a deterrent for foreigners who play with our emotions, make fools of us,” he said. “We can't let them get away with it.”
His was a fairy tale wedding.
Markham’s Kashmir Janagal flew to Punjab, India, with his parents and a half-dozen relatives in early 2008. There were three pre-weddings parties, hundreds of guests and on Feb. 16, he married Parveen Kumari, a woman he and his family had known for years.
Janagal, now 34, returned home and filed his wife’s sponsorship papers. She flew to Toronto on Feb. 8, 2009. Janagal says his wife’s uncle, who lives in Montreal, was also at the airport. Eventually, everyone went to Janagal’s home.
“She didn’t want to talk to me but only to her uncle,” said Janagal, who was then training to be a primary school teacher.
He left for work the next day. When he returned, she was gone. Janagal says he tried calling dozens of time — there was no answer. Finally, he filed a missing person’s report. A few days later, she filed assault charges against him.
He next saw Kumari this January at the trial, where charges against him were dismissed.
It was vindication but not enough. “She has taken two years of my life. . . . The emotional pain is unbelievable,” said Janagal. “You fall totally in love and realize you’ve been used. I’ve lost faith in people.”
Janagal, who is still married to Kumari, has complained to CIC, CBSA and the Prime Minister’s office. “I’ll keep at it until I know what’s happening with her.”
She was devastated when it happened; now she’s at peace.
“I know the government works slowly but I have faith . . . he will be deported eventually.”
Cindy Green, now 52, met Francisco Vargas while on holiday in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, in 2003. They got married in October 2004, 18 months after they had first met. Vargas came to Canada in December 2005.
Green, who lives in Woodbridge, says everything was fine the first month and he even started working at a local restaurant. “In January, he started to change,” she said. He got upset at the slightest reason and “tried to provoke me into fights at every opportunity.”
On Jan. 31, 2006, seven weeks after landing in Toronto, he left without an explanation.
When Canada Border Services Agency didn’t do anything, Green hired a private detective in Punta Cana. Within weeks, he found that Vargas had a common-law wife and four children with her.
Armed with proof, she went to the border agency. Privacy issues still prevent her from knowing what exactly is going on “but I know that he has a deportation hearing soon.”
Green says she’s not bitter any more. “I just feel that we have to keep fighting to change our immigration system. Why is it that very few people are deported even though it’s proven they used marriage as a way to get to Canada?”
Evan Wilson, 36, of St. Thomas, Ont. met Yaemin Garcia Gonzalez while holidaying in Havana in September 2008.
There was an instant connection with the 23-year-old. He spent about five days with her and then returned to Canada. One thing led to another and they were married in Havana in December 2008, her young daughter by her side.
In January 2010, she arrived in Toronto. The two lived happily for some weeks. Then Wilson said he happened to see her email.
“She had written to her friend that her ex-boyfriend wanted her to claim abuse against me and go to a shelter,” he said.
He says he begged her to come clean. She said she wanted to go home. He bought her a ticket but she never boarded the flight. Wilson doesn’t know how but Gonzalez somehow wound up in Miami and then in Louisville, Kentucky.
“She’s illegal there and they will deport her . . . but to Canada and she’ll go on welfare here,” said Wilson. “She should go back to Cuba.”
Wilson has called and written to Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Canada Border Services Agency dozens of time. He says the two government agencies don’t care that she was charged with prostitution in 2005 and 2007 or that she circumvented the law here.
“There are too many such stories,” said Wilson. “Something needs to be done and quickly.”
He had heard stories of brides and grooms abandoning their spouses once they reached Canada but Deepinder Mann never thought it would happen to him.
“I was marrying someone very close to my family in India,” said Mann, 36, a Brampton realtor.
He married Ranjit Kaur, 31, in Punjab, India, in January 2009. Mann says he spent two weeks with her but they did not consummate the marriage. He says he sensed something was wrong but she convinced him that she would be more comfortable once she lived with him in Canada.
She came to Canada in September but didn’t stay with Mann for long. She went to her aunt’s place, said Mann. When he went to talk to the aunt, he says he was told that his wife didn’t want to live with him.
“It slowly unravelled that she had a boyfriend in India . . . I was even given a letter in which she had admitted to it all,” said Mann.
Kaur returned to India within weeks and Mann wrote to Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Canada Border Services Agency, warning them against letting her into Canada again.
He also went to India and registered cheating cases against Kaur and her family.
In March, he discovered that she had come to Canada again.
“I complained to everyone and she still managed to come here,” said Mann. “The system is so soft and easy to abuse. It doesn’t happen anywhere else.”