Abuses Of Citizenship

Abuses of citizenship

Diane Francis
Financial Post
Published: Saturday, May 17, 2008

Condos in Vancouver and Toronto are often empty because they are addresses of convenience. Owners work abroad tax-free but pretend to reside in Canada to qualify for immigration, health care and other entitlements and ultimately citizenship for themselves and relatives.

Here are two more stories (in a series I have been writing) about residency fraud from a Canadian source:

“I'm 39 and I've worked all over the world (Asia, Europe, Canada and the U. S.) I recently returned to a top American Ivy League school for a masters. I was stunned to discover the degree to which Canadian immigration is being abused.

“I had dinner with six good buddies, all from 'questionable' foreign countries [Pakistan, Syria], all great guys and I found out they were all 'Canadian', ” he said. “None of these guys has spent more than a few weeks in Canada. Yet four were citizens and two were permanent residents who will become full-blown citizens shortly.

“They come from rich families in corrupt countries and they travel the world freely on our passports, without ever paying a dime in tax. Here's how it works:”

-“Extremely rich people from corrupt countries apply for permanent residency at their local embassy and it is my guess that their certain 'special influence' is exerted so they can get themselves and members of the family into Canada as immigrants.

-“They visit Canada for a few weeks, get bank accounts, buy a condo, then hit the road and leave Canada, letting the clock tick until they qualify for Canadian citizenship.

-“Once they have a passport, the party begins and they can come back and forth to use our services at will without contributing to taxes.

-“These people are rich beyond our wildest dreams. A spare condo in Toronto [or Vancouver] is chump change if one looks upon it as [free entitlements like health care], needed 'insurance' against a collapse at home or a change in government.”

The U. S. story is the same: “I started chatting with a guy from India who was a landed immigrant even though he had never even visited Canada. He obtained his residence permit by applying in Singapore, then moved directly to the U. S., where he studied at a mediocre school.

“He is trying to become a permanent U. S. resident and when I suggested that he could just work for a Canadian bank in Toronto, where salaries were roughly the same, he looked utterly disgusted that I could even make such a suggestion.

“I assure you, he will get our passport and use us like dogs: Travel and work worldwide without paying a dollar in taxes or giving a damn about the place. It's a step up to a more respected passport for free.”

Now his wife is pregnant and they plan on having the kid in Canada.

“This is so common in the U. S. that I just stopped paying attention. But it is important and relevant because these guys are not only cheapening the Canadian good name but they are taking up previous immigration seats that our economy desperately needs. Furthermore, processing each permanent resident and new citizen costs money.”

He also pointed out that Sweden, where he lived for three years, is wise to fraudsters: You cannot get permanent residency easily or by “buying in” by investing in a condo of a hundred thousand or so.

And once you have permanent residency, you cannot leave Sweden for more than two months except under special circumstances, which must be approved in advance by the government.