Canada unearths scam: same guests at 42 Indian weddings
May 17, 2007 - 2:06:03 PM
Toronto, May 17 - Canadian immigration officials have discovered 42 wedding albums - submitted by 42 different Indians applying for citizenship - in which the guests in the photos were identical.
'You'd have to believe that 42 weddings had the same guests,' said Mendel Green, president of Green and Spiegel, an immigration law firm.
All the weddings had supposedly taken place at the same wedding venue in Chandigarh, India.
'Yes, people have brought fake photos to us,' said Ravi Jain, a partner with Green and Spiegel. 'We have seen people posing in the photos. We have seen the same wedding halls, the same guests over and over again.'
Liberal MP Roy Cullen said many Indo-Canadians have expressed concern over this abuse of the system, the Toronto Sun reported.
'They are telling me it is becoming like an epidemic and it is being seriously abused and so sometime back I spoke with former immigration minister Monte Solberg. I suggested to him -- and I am soon going to write to his successor Diane Finley -- that immigration rules could be amended to issue spousal visas on a probation of say three to five years and if at the end of this period the couple is still in marital relationship, they should be given permanent landed status.'
In addition to people getting legal immigration status with these phoney marriages, Jain said Canadian immigration officers have also started 'over-scrutinising all family class applications, genuine marriages.'
Statistics show about 60,000 Canadians marry overseas each year and file international spousal sponsorships. About 15 percent are rejected by the Canada Citizenship and Immigration department. In the case of India, the rate is 23 percent.
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