Government of Canada to Prevent Immigration Fraud Through International Cooperation
By: Marketwire .
Aug. 21, 2009 04:30 AM
OTTAWA, ONTARIO — (Marketwire) — 08/21/09 — A new international initiative puts Canada at the forefront of worldwide efforts to identify and combat immigration fraud, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney and Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan announced today.
Under this landmark initiative, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia will be able to share the fingerprint information of asylum seekers and foreign nationals facing deportation, including dangerous criminals. This will improve our ability to identify foreign nationals who are seeking to enter Canada and who are trying to hide their past from authorities.
Under the partnership, Canada will be able to securely and confidentially check fingerprints with those stored in Australian and U.K. databases.
The initiative was developed under the Five Country Conference (FCC) – a forum for immigration and border security – between Canada, Australia, the U.K., the United States and New Zealand. The United States will be joining the initiative shortly, and New Zealand is considering legislation to join in the near future.
“Canada has had a long-standing collaborative relationship with the FCC countries and I am pleased that we are building on this partnership,” said Minister Kenney. “Through this initiative, we are tackling identity fraud and abuse of our immigration and refugee programs, while at the same time ensuring that Canada continues to welcome genuine refugees.”
“Along with our international partners, we are making a commitment to ensure the safety and security of our respective countries,” said Minister Van Loan. “This is one way that we are balancing Canada's priority of economic prosperity while using innovative ways to enhance border security.”
Information sharing among FCC countries will allow Canada to:
– Better identify fraudulent claimants, ensuring that we are more successful in confirming the identities of genuine refugee claimants;
– Improve our ability to detect people who misrepresent themselves;
– Protect public safety by removing those who are found to be inadmissible to Canada; and
– Protect Canadians from violent foreign criminals.
The benefits of information sharing have already been demonstrated by partner countries in previous trials. In one case, an asylum claimant in the U.K. was found to have previously been fingerprinted on arrival in the United States while travelling on an Australian passport. Australia subsequently confirmed that the individual was an Australian citizen wanted on criminal charges. This resulted in his deportation to Australia, where he is now in jail.
Each country involved in this initiative has employed a number of safeguards to protect privacy and has completed a comprehensive privacy impact assessment. To view Canada's privacy impact assessment summary, visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website at www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/atip/pia-fcc.asp.
CIC is undertaking this initiative in partnership with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and with the assistance of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
CIC, the CBSA and the RCMP are also leading a five-year project to introduce biometrics into Canada's temporary resident program. The project, announced in the 2008 budget, will cover visitors who require visas or work or study permits and is scheduled to be rolled out between 2011 and 2013. The Government of Canada is moving toward eventually using biometrics for all foreigners entering the country.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Media Relations Unit
Canada Border Services Agency