June 15, 2005:
New charges that MP Gurmant Grewal fraudulently obtained his Canadian citizenship create more problems for Mr. Grewal. But more importantly, they point to an older, much larger problem with Canada’s entire Business Immigrant Class under which Mr. Grewal received his Canadian citizenship, says Immigration Watch Canada.
The most important question to be asked is this: Why does the Business Class even exist?
According to The Vancouver Sun (June 8, 2005), “Gurwinder Dhillon (Mr. Grewal’s former employer) said Wednesday that Grewal was a carpet salesman at his company when the MP bought $50,000 in shares on April 15, 1993, but that Grewal sold them back the next day in what he said amounted to a phoney transaction. Dhillon said he wrote a cheque back to Grewal’s lawyer.”
Mr. Grewal allegedly used the $50,000 transaction to meet his obligations under the Business Immigrant Class. The incident reveals a number of important points about the Business Immigrant programme:
(1) As one auditor of the programme stated several years ago, the programme was “riddled with fraud”. Some corrections have been made in the Business Immigrant Class. But despite hearing many severe criticisms about the Business Immigrant category from both external and internal observers, the federal government has done little to correct the fraud. Chief among criticisms continues to be why the programme even exists. Without providing any evidence, the federal government continues to describe it as being of major economic benefit to Canada.
(2) Between 200,000 to 300,000 immigrants have entered Canada through this programme. Very large numbers of Business Immigrants have failed to meet their obligations. Very few have faced consequences. Word has undoubtedly spread about the laxness of the programme.This has undoubtedly contributed to continued abuse of this category.
(3) Canadian citizenship, already devalued since 1989 by hundreds of thousands of fraudulent refugee claimants and out-of-control chain migration of many more hundreds of thousands under the Family Immigrant Class, has been put up for sale to Business Immigrants and even further devalued.
(4) A spokesman from Citizenship and Immigration has recently stated that his department takes such allegations of fraud very seriously. However, past experience has shown that immigration ministers have blocked any serious correction of Business Immigrant irregularity. This has to stop in order for fraud to stop and for justice to be done.
(5) A number of those fraudulently entering Canada through this programme have undoubtedly been emboldened by their easy success with their first Canadian hurdle and have probably abused other Canadian institutions, noteably Canada’s income tax system.
(6) A number of these people have risen to prominent positions and have probably used their influence to ensure that few changes occur in the Business and other Immigration Classes and that the widespread abuse continues.
According to current Citizenship and Immigration information, the Business Immigration class has three categories:
(1) Entrepreneur—Currently, these people must demonstrate business experience, have a minimum net worth of CDN $300,000 and make an investment. This category began in 1978 and was intended to create employment opportunities “for more than five Canadian citizens or permanent residents”.
Charles Campbell, former Vice-Chairman of the Immigration Appeal Board, has noted in his book, Betrayal and Deceit, that major failures occurred early in this plan. When entrepreneurs were not able to employ five people, ” the requirement became two jobs, and when that didn’t work,” the requirement was reduced to one job. ” Since that single job could quite properly be taken by a landed immigrant who arrived on the same plane as the employer, the persistent publicity lauding the program as an attack on Canada’s unemployment statistics left the value of the program in doubt.”
As reporter Campbell Clark of The National Post has pointed out, in one five year period, “of more than 7000 persons in this category, 40% of the total failed to open a business during the two-year period when they were obliged to do so, but fewer than 10 were deported”. Thousands “simply disappeared and hundreds used fake documents to create the illusion they were opening a business”.
As Mr. Gurwinder Dhillon has recently alleged about Mr. Grewal, the latter conducted a mere paper transaction for $50,000 which Mr. Dhillon returned to him one day later. In other words, Mr. Grewal, the Business Immigrant, is alleged to have invested nothing. Nobody contested his “investment”, and he was given Canadian citizenship.
(2) Investor—Currently, these people must also demonstrate business experience, have a net worth of CDN $800,000 and make an investment of CDN $400,000. This category began in 1986 and was intended to provide seed money to fund Canada’s economic growth.
In 1991, the Economic Council of Canada advised the federal government that there was no reason to expect that Investor Immigrant capital would represent a net addition to the supply of capital available to new businesses. However, immigrant capital might serve a purpose if it were directed into risk areas. In 1997, a federal advisory group noted that most investor immigrant money was risk adverse—thus defeating much of the purpose for this programme’s existence. (See Betrayal and Deceit, P. 179)
In addition, the advisory group noted that the majority of persons in this programme were not able to function in either official language and were poorly educated. Also, there was little control over questionable financial arrangements, money laundering, the involvement of organized crime and funds from illegitimate business activities. Canada was “merely selling and thereby devaluing Canadian citizenship”. Charles Campbell has appropriately called these programmes a “citizenship fire sale”.
Originally, an investment of $250,000 was required in B.C., Ontario and Quebec or $150,000 in any other province. Research by Roslyn Kunin, former Head of the Laurier Institute, has shown that despite this requirement, the average contribution was actually only $18,000. The remainder of any “investment” was borrowed from Canadian sources (lending institutions)–in effect using capital already in Canada and thereby contradicting the entire purpose of this programme.
(3) Self-Employed—These people must have the intention and ability to create their own employment. The qualifications for this category are the most vague and strange. Applicants “are expected to contribute to the cultural or athletic life of Canada” or may purchase and manage a farm.
In 2002 (the last year for which Citizenship and Immigration provides figures), Canada had a total of 3047 immigrants in the three Business Immigrant categories. These people brought 7994 dependents with them, a ratio of almost 3 dependents for every Business Immigrant, further emphasizing the negative effects of this immigration class. For example, child dependents would be using resources in Canada’s education and medical systems, thereby negating any “investment”. In total, 11,041 immigrants entered Canada through the Business Immigrant category in 2002.
In 2001, 14,588 immigrants entered Canada through the Business category. In 2000, 13,664 entered through the same category.