Klaudios Mustakas – Pace Immigration Senior Advisor: Many individuals in the Middle East are living in a world of illusion. These are individuals who have obtained Canadian citizenship (and the much sought-after Canadian passport) or Permanent Residence Status in Canada through fraud or misrepresentation.
The Canadian government has decided to take a zero tolerance approach to those individuals who have obtained Canadian status without meeting the most basic requirements.
In order to maintain one’s Permanent Residence status in Canada, an individual must reside (with few exceptions) in Canada for a minimum of two years within a five year period. To apply for Canadian Citizenship, a Permanent Resident of Canada must have physical residence in Canada for a period of three years in the last four years preceding their application.
Unfortunately, some individuals use the services of unscrupulous consultants or family members to fraudulently establish false evidence that they have been residing in Canada. Meanwhile, they have spent most, if not all, of that time living abroad, with some individuals spending tens of thousands of dollars to create the illusion of residency in Canada.
Currently, by the Canadian government’s own figures, up to 3,100 citizens are currently in the process of having their Canadian citizenship revoked.
If a person believes that their status is secure after fraudulently obtaining Canadian citizenship or extensions on their Permanent Status, they are mistaken. The reality is that when the misrepresentation is discovered, the Canadian government will take whatever legal means are available to strip them of citizenship or the Permanent Residence status.
Currently, by the Canadian government’s own figures, up to 3,100 citizens are in the process of having their Canadian citizenship revoked, and another 7900 cases have been flagged as needing more intensive investigations. In some cases, it’s not until the fraudster arrives at the Canadian border and is arrested by Canadian authorities that they realize that the illusion under which they have been living has come to an abrupt end. To quote Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, “We will not stand by and allow people to lie and cheat their way into becoming citizens.”
People who have no intention on residing in Canada, but are looking for other citizenship options, have other means to accomplish their goals. Countries in the Caribbean and Europe do have programs that provide either citizenship or permanent residence status legally with minimum residency requirements. These immigration and citizenship programs allow individuals to legally have options when looking for other residence when and if the time is needed to move.
Klaudios Mustakas is a retired former Manager of Enforcement Operations with the Canada Border Service Agency. He travels extensively in the Middle East to counsel individuals on immigration issues.