Ottawa, March, 24, 2011 — Canada’s efforts to combat immigration fraud have been strengthened following the signing of a new information-sharing initiative with New Zealand, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney, announced today.
“This initiative will help Canadian immigration authorities detect foreign criminals and previous deportees who are trying to re-enter Canada without permission,” said Minister Kenney. “Canada already has similar initiatives in place with the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States, and we are pleased to expand this partnership to include New Zealand.”
Under this arrangement, Canada will be able to securely and confidentially check the fingerprint information of asylum seekers and foreign nationals facing deportation in Canada with those stored in New Zealand immigration databases.
“The ability to check identities with each other helps Canada and New Zealand identify people using false identities or people with criminal histories,” said New Zealand Immigration Minister Dr. Jonathan Coleman. “The initiative gives greater confidence that non-genuine immigration cases will be refused through the improved detection of fraudulent identity and immigration claims.”
The initiative was developed as part of the Five Country Conference (FCC), a forum for immigration and border security comprised of Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency in partnership with New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia. To date, as a result of data-sharing:
- The U.K. returned to Australia a wanted rapist posing as an asylum seeker, who subsequently pleaded guilty.
- Canada revoked the refugee status of a man whom British records proved to be an American citizen.
- The U.K. took action against an asylum seeker who used nine identities and six different documents across the FCC countries.
Canadian citizens will not be affected, nor will visitors, foreign students or foreign workers. Most permanent residents will not be affected either, other than those who acquired their status via a successful refugee claim.
The protection of personal information is important to all the countries involved. Each FCCcountry has in place a number of safeguards to protect privacy and has completed a comprehensive privacy impact assessment.