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Canada plans to strip citizenship of thousands obtained by fraud


16:45, December 10, 2011

OTTAWA, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- The Canadian government has launched investigations into thousands of people who have claimed Canadian citizenship but have lied about living in the country for the required amount of time.

Government officials say about 2,100 people who immigrated to Canada and obtained citizenship may have it revoked because they did not actually reside in Canada.

The government alleges they came to Canada, filled out applications, and returned to their home countries soon afterwards.

Many of these applications are handled by shady "immigration consultants." To qualify for residency, they must spend three out of four years in Canada.

Officials claim people living in foreign countries like to have dual citizenship with Canada because of the country's medicare system. As well, they demand Canadian diplomatic protection when there are problems in their home country.

Another 4,400 who are supposedly permanent residents will not get full citizenship, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Friday in Montreal.

"We will apply the full strength of Canadian law. Where evidence permits, we will seek the revocation of permanent resident status or citizenship and in some cases the deportation of anyone perpetrating such fraud," Kenney said.

"If you are a consultant involved in selling Canadian citizenship fraudulently to people ..we are on to you. It's just a matter of time," he said. "Citizenship is priceless. It is at the heart of our identity as Canadians."

The announcement was made after a two-year investigation by Canadian Border Services and the Department of Immigration.

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