Visa fraud in Punjab
Fri, October 26 2007
The South Asian Post
Vikrant Singh of Jalandhar, Punjab wants a live-in nanny job in Canada.
He is available for a year beginning this month.
Vikrant says he can provide a police report if the prospective employer wants to check his background, speaks fluent Hindi and English, does not smoke, can drive and swim, and is willing to cook and clean house.
He is a Hindu and wants Sundays off. He will work on public holidays.
Vikrant has certificates in first aid administration, letters from his high school and has completed six months training as a caregiver from a reputed institution, reads his online bio.
If Vikrant sounds like the perfect nanny for the Canadian working couple, think again.
The Canadian consulate in Chandigarh, Punjab is sounding the alarm over the surge in Punjabi men applying to work as nannies in Canada.
It sees the sudden groundswell of male nannies as a new immigration fraud scheme designed to sneak into Canada.
A report from the Canadian immigration office, made public by Vancouver lawyer Richard Kurland, said Punjabi men are applying to schools meant for training female nannies and applying for visas to Canada as nannies, where they are in short supply.
There are 2,000 applications pending from men in Punjab for immigration in the nanny category, the report said, adding: This office has identified over 160 nanny schools in the Punjab.
The live-in caregiver program has been targeted by immigration consultancy businesses in the Punjab, the report also says.
While some of the nanny schools are bona fide institutions, there are a considerable number lacking facilities, equipment and students but having large graduating classes! states the report compiled by an Immigration Canada officer.
Most applicants are destined to work for relatives in Canada. Many of the applicants are male in a society where childcare and eldercare is seen as the sphere of women, he wrote.
With over 2000 applications in the inventory, processing times are now forecast at 22-30 months.
The Times of India, following up on this report, said: Indian men arent exactly famous as caregivers even for their own children and elders.
But Chandigarh-based Sunrise International Immigration Services Kuldeep Singh dismissed the fears of fraud saying Indian men can be caregivers as they are being accepted as nurses in various countries, including Canada.
The Canadian consulate in Chandigarh, which holds a high profile in the Indo-Canadian community, is also facing a high incidence of fraudulent and forged documentation submitted with applications, and burgeoning volumes.
On a daily basis, local newspapers report arrests of agents and scams related to immigration, the report said.
As a result, fraud is omnipresent in Chandigarh and is found in every sort of document, Indian and Canadian.
We have seen copies of forged Canadian passports, forged PR cards, forced Notices of Assessment from the Canadian Revenue Agency, forged Indian bank documents, forged employment letters both Indian and Canadian, forged letters from Canadian funeral homes and from Canadian educational institutions, said the report.
Entire kits of forged documents are regularly seen, supporting requests for parents to visit their children in Canada and to attend the funerals in Canada of close relatives.
One novel area where fraud is being detected is in the application by religious workers for Gurdwaras or Sikh temples in Canada. About 10 per cent of the applications received at the consulate involve religious workers.
Whether it be a loophole ruse or clever opportunism, applying as a male nanny may be a way to realize that dream of a life overseas.
When it comes to applications by low-skilled workers or tradesmen, the consulate is rejecting many applications by farm workers, recycling plant bottle sorters and fast food restaurant cooks and servers because they are over-serviced categories or because applicants are unable to satisfy Canadian requirements.
These applicants, the report continues, work with unscrupulous travel and immigration agents and many are not aware of the terms of the contract that they have signed.
In the student category, the report states: While study in Canada is attractive locally, many of the unscrupulous local agents see it as a means to help their clients, who have no intention of studying, gain entry to Canada.
The highest refusal rates are for study at private career colleges, some of which recruit widely and indiscriminately. One private career college in Punjab has, since June 2006, issued more than 500 letters of acceptance through local agents for students destined for Canada.
A site visit to the college in Canada revealed it only had 4 classrooms.
The report from the consulate in Chandigarh was also a plea for help.
Attracting CBOs [Canadian-Based Officers] to Chandigarh is, and will be for the foreseeable future, a challenge. CBOs are readily recognizable as foreigners and offers of friendship often lead to visa requests.
There are no other diplomatic missions in Chandigarh and only a very small ex-pat community with the result that there are no suitable schools for children. Spousal employment opportunities are limited, said the consular report.