Pregnant Chinese women conning immigration system

SHUTTERSTOCK

SHUTTERSTOCK

Mark Dunn, Senior National Reporter

, Last Updated: 1:09 PM ET

OTTAWA - The government plans to crack down on a scam in which pregnant Chinese women are coming to Canada for the sole purpose of giving birth so the child becomes a citizen, QMI Agency has learned.

The fraud is mostly based in Hong Kong where unscrupulous consultants are coaching wealthy Chinese mainlanders how to keep their pregnancies hidden entering Canada on student or visitor visas.

Avoid any baby or maternity items in luggage, wear dark clothing going through customs to look slimmer, and arrive in Canada no later than in the seventh month of pregnancy are among the tips given.

Once here, the women go into hiding until they are due to give birth and then go to a hospital to deliver the baby. No one knows the extent of the abuse.

All babies born in Canada are considered citizens - meaning they could return later in life as a student, for example, and sponsor their parents under family reunification.

It is illegal under Canadian immigration laws to lie about the purpose of one's visit. A woman would be denied entry if she told an immigration officer the reason for the trip is to have a baby.

Unlike Canada and the United States, Australia, Britain, South Africa, New Zealand and many European countries have rules in place where citizenship is not automatically granted to foreigners who give birth there.

Officials in Immigration Minister Jason Kenney's office said changes are coming to strengthen laws.

"We are aware of crooked consultants who encourage pregnant women to illegally travel to Canada to give birth and gain access to Canada's considerable benefits," said Candice Malcolm, a spokeswoman for Kenney.

"We condemn the practice of circumventing our laws to game the system."

Changes being considered include making pregnancy exams a condition of obtaining visas, and rewriting rules so automatic citizenship does not come with birth on Canadian soil.

Mark.Dunn@sunmedia.ca

Twitter:MarkDunnSun


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