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New Canadian act targets 'Ghost' immigration agents

Toronto, Dec 8 (IANS) 'Ghost' immigration consultants in India, who dupe people desperate to migrate to Canada, will be put out of business with the passing of new legislation by the Canadian parliament.
Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said the legislation to crack down on crooked immigration consultants has received final approval Tuesday in the House of Commons.

The new Act will crack down on crooked immigration consultants who undermine the integrity of Canada's immigration system, the minister said.

'In their quest for personal gain, crooked consultants have displayed a wanton disregard for our immigration rules and bilked too many people out of their hard-earned dollars,' said Kenney.

'They are a menace, posing a costly threat not only to their victims, but also to the integrity and fairness of our immigration system. When crooked consultants encourage prospective immigrants to cheat the system, it slows down the immigration system for those following the rules,' the minister said.

The new Act makes immigration services provided by any unauthorised immigration agent illegal.

'This includes services offered or performed before an application is submitted or a proceeding begins, thus closing a loophole in the current framework. It would also give the minister the authority to designate a body to govern immigration consultants and authorize the Governor in Council to make regulations to enhance the government's oversight of this body.'

According to Canadian authorities, India-based 'ghost' immigration consultants -- who operate in collusion with their Canada-based fraud partners -- pose a major challenge to this country's immigration system.

Operating out of the purview of law, these 'ghost' immigration consultant cheat thousands of prospective immigrants each year, defrauding them up to $30,000 each.

Such operators are rampant, especially in Punjab, as migrant families from that state in Canada want to bring their relatives here by hook or by crook.
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