Rise in fake marriages causes concern in Immigration dept.
By Susan Delacourt
The Toronto Star (Canada), December 1, 2009
Ottawa — A rising trend in fake marriages by would-be immigrants, perhaps criminally organized, is raising alarms within the federal Immigration department.
'It's a trend that we're starting to see and the department is concerned that there is organized fraud around that movement,' Claudette Deschnes, Assistant Deputy Minister of Immigration, told a House of Commons committee this morning.
Deschnes was replying to New Democrat MP Olivia Chow (Trinity-Spadina), who was inquiring about the nearly 50 per cent refusal rate for spousal applications from places such as China, western Africa and Hong Kong. The sharp spike in refusals sparked a story in The Star earlier this year.
Chow asked whether the refusals were linked to organized, illegal attempts to get people into Canada. 'We're looking at that. It's a new trend, but we are concerned that it's an organized movement,' Deschnes said.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said it's on the government's radar too.
'Globally we do have a problem of marriages of convenience, commercialized, fake marriages to get into Canada,' Kenney said.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is leaving today for China and it's not known whether any of his discussions on his travels will deal with the fake marriage problem.