Tempting… but don’t do it
Some immigration consultants in Montreal are helping landed immigrants bypass the residency requirements for Canadian citizenship, by offering “life in Canada simulation” services, according to an investigation by the CBC, Canada’s national news network.
In order to qualify for Canadian citizenship, a landed immigrant (permanent resident) must spend the better part of three years in Canada within a four-year period. Almost all permanent residents want to become Canadian citizens and obtain a Canadian passport. The problem, though, is that not everyone is willing or able to spend the requisite time in Canada in order to qualify, and a small percentage (one hopes) of these individuals is seeking out shortcuts to Canadian citizenship.
There are so-called “consultants” out there, who, for a fee of between $4,000 and $6,000 will make it appear as if a permanent resident has been physically present in Canada for three years when in fact, the landed immigrant has been residing outside of Canada’s borders. The consultants provide phoney apartment leases for their clients and even bogus school registrations for their children. They pick up mail, pay bills and do all sorts of things on their clients’ behalf that would give the impression of Canadian residency. At the end of three years their clients submit falsified applications for Canadian citizenship, in which they indicate that they have been physically present in Canada for three years. These applicants usually obtain fresh passports from their home country just prior to the Canadian citizenship process and submit copies of same to Canadian authorities in an effort to hide their previous travel outside Canada.
Does this type of deception work?
Yes, I’m sure that it sometimes does.
Should people do it if they are unwilling to spend three years in Canada?
The simple answer is “no,” because it’s illegal and immoral.
In addition, anyone contemplating this fraudulent activity should realize that they will not have a “peaceful night’s sleep” after they have obtained Canadian citizenship. The consultants who perform these services don’t only do so for one individual. Sooner or later, one of their clients will probably get caught and then confess the name of the consultant. From there it is an easy task to determine the names of the other individuals who retained that consultant’s services. The end result will be the loss of Canadian citizenship and removal from Canada for anyone who was involved.
It’s simply not worth it.
Better to comply with the more accommodating residency obligations for maintaining status as a permanent resident until such time as you are willing to physically reside in Canada for a good portion of your time.