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Pandemic likely to drive a surge in immigration fraud, border agency warns

The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to drive an increase in immigration fraud and human smuggling as desperate migrants try to get into Canada, says a strategic intelligence report prepared by the Canada Border Service Agency.

The report warns that economic downturns and increased poverty abroad caused by the pandemic will prompt more people to resort to irregular methods to come to Canada.

“With more people looking to immigrate, there is likely to be an increase in fraud in all immigration streams via the use of fraudulent supporting documentation to bolster visa or permanent resident applications, fraudulently acquired travel documents to be able to board flights to Canada and misrepresentation,” says the report, dated June 2020.

“It is also likely that we may see more downstream immigration fraud once individuals are in Canada, such as an increase in workers without authorization, marriages of convenience, or the use of unscrupulous agents to assist individuals in regularizing their temporary status into permanent residence.”

The pandemic is likely to increase both the number of people seeking refugee status in Canada and the number of economic migrants pretending to be refugees, the report warns.

The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to drive an increase in immigration fraud and human smuggling as desperate migrants try to get into Canada, says a strategic intelligence report prepared by the Canada Border Service Agency.

The report warns that economic downturns and increased poverty abroad caused by the pandemic will prompt more people to resort to irregular methods to come to Canada.

“With more people looking to immigrate, there is likely to be an increase in fraud in all immigration streams via the use of fraudulent supporting documentation to bolster visa or permanent resident applications, fraudulently acquired travel documents to be able to board flights to Canada and misrepresentation,” says the report, dated June 2020.

“It is also likely that we may see more downstream immigration fraud once individuals are in Canada, such as an increase in workers without authorization, marriages of convenience, or the use of unscrupulous agents to assist individuals in regularizing their temporary status into permanent residence.”

The pandemic is likely to increase both the number of people seeking refugee status in Canada and the number of economic migrants pretending to be refugees, the report warns.

Migrants who tried to flee to Europe travel in a dinghy after they were stopped by the Libyan coast guard on September 29, 2015. The region is a major hub for human trafficking. (Ismail Zitouny/Reuters)

It’s also expected to trigger a rise in human smuggling, the report predicts.

“With migration pathways likely reduced globally either as a result of restrictive socio-economic conditions or harsh immigration policies, desperation will likely see more migrants increasingly use the services of smuggling networks and more dangerous pathways, which is likely to increase migrant vulnerability and exploitation by traffickers or other criminal groups,” the report says CBC reports | Read More