Innocent expats are falling foul of immigration authorities facing a flood of visa fraudsters.
Thousands of expats are under investigation across the world – especially in Europe and North America.
Canadian immigration authorities say they have 11,000 ongoing cases and is about to deport more than 3,000 who gained citizenship by lying.
More than 5,000 foreign residents who have already tried to enter Canada with fraudulent visa applications are flagged as ‘undesirables’.
The Canadian authorities reckon at least 1,800 visa applications have been withdrawn since closer scrutiny has been introduced.
Citizenship not for sale
Another 5,000 face questioning about their citizenship applications and 2,500 more are suspected of being involved in making false applications.
“We are applying the full strength of Canadian law to those who have obtained citizenship fraudulently,’ said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.
“Canadian citizenship is not for sale. We are taking action to strip citizenship and permanent residence status from people who don’t play by the rules and who lie or cheat to become a Canadian citizen.
“We will not stand by and allow people to lie and cheat their way into becoming citizens. I encourage anyone who has information regarding citizenship fraud to call our tip line to report it. There is no time limit for investigating this type of fraud.”
The Canadian government reiterated their determination to crackdown on visa fraudsters with a further statement.
Investigations have revealed families are paying up to CDN$25,000 a year to criminals to live under false visas in Canada.
“This announcement is the end result of the hard work, and they should be congratulated for their dedicated effort in bringing these charges forward,” said Canada’s Public Safety Minister Vic Toews. ‘These efforts reinforce our government’s commitment to protecting the integrity of our immigration system.”
Visa fraudster jailed
Meanwhile, in the UK, Indian Bhavin Shah, 34, who lived in Watford, Hertfordshire, was jailed for almost five years at Isleworth Crown Court after admitting submitting hundreds of fraudulent visa applications.
Shah charged clients up to £5,000 each to process applications for visa extensions even though he was not registered as an immigration advisor or solicitor.
Police in Kosovo have arrested five men, including former government workers, for charging up to €20,000 to smuggle immigrants in to the USA with false papers. At least 10 people have entered the USA illegally with the help of the gang, say the police.