Government of Canada to prevent immigration fraud through international cooperation
On August 21, 2009 Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney and Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan announced a new international endeavor that places Canada at the forefront of worldwide efforts to identify and combat immigration fraud.
Under this ground-breaking initiative, Canada, the United Kingdom (U.K.) and Australia will be able to share the fingerprint information of asylum seekers and foreign nationals facing deportation, including dangerous criminals. This new program is meant to allow Canada to effectively tackle identity fraud and abuse of our immigration and refugee programs, while at the same time ensuring that Canada continues to welcome genuine refugees. Additionally, it serves as a means to balance Canada's priority of economic prosperity while using innovative ways to enhance border security.
This new proposal is not for all who enter the Country, but are specifically for people who apply for a Canadian visa to work, study or travel in Canada. Higher risk countries will have stricter security which potentially should keep Canadians safer. Keeping Canadians safer is first done by screening out people that are a danger to the society. With this new program it is strongly believed that Canadian citizens will be safer and the country as a whole will benefit in respect to security.
The program was developed under the Five Country Conference (FCC) – a forum for immigration and border security – between Canada, Australia, the U.K., the United States and New Zealand. The United States will be joining the initiative shortly, and New Zealand is considering legislation to join in the near future.
Information sharing among FCC countries will allow Canada to:
- Better identify fraudulent claimants, ensuring that we are more successful in confirming the identities of genuine refugee claimants;
- Improve our ability to detect people who misrepresent themselves;
- Protect public safety by removing those who are found to be inadmissible to Canada; and
- Protect Canadians from violent foreign criminals.
The benefits of information sharing have already been demonstrated by partner countries in previous trials. In one case, an asylum claimant in the U.K. was found to have previously been fingerprinted on arrival in the United States while travelling on an Australian passport. Australia subsequently confirmed that the individual was an Australian citizen wanted on criminal charges. This resulted in his deportation to Australia where he is now in jail.
CIC is undertaking this initiative in partnership with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and with the assistance of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).