Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Shut Down Chandigarh: On Consultants, The Pathetic, Greed, And Rampant Fraud.

I started this blog with a few goals in mind and getting Canada's diplomatic mission in Chandigarh, Punjab, India shut down has been added to the list. Two more stories published in the Toronto Star add fuel to the fire and illustrate why Canada's diplomatic mission in Chandigarh, Punjab, India does not serve Canada's interest as it is a complete waste of money.

The first one takes a look at the unscrupulous, unethical, lecherous face of immigration consultancy in the Indian state.

Sandeep Ohri is a dashing 42-year-old who revels in zipping through the traffic chaos in his gleaming Mercedes, passing billboards touting him as the leading immigration consultant in Punjab state.

But Canadian officials see someone else: an extraordinarily brazen and successful scam artist in an industry rife with deceptive swindlers willing to provide applicants with a litany of sham documents — everything from fake airline tickets and doctored bank statements to forged letters from Canadian-based funeral homes.

Of the nearly 500 visa applications formally rejected this year, 228 come from Ohri and his firm, OGIC Immigration Consultants.


The six visa-section staff who work at Canada’s mission in Chandigarh, Punjab’s capital, review 40,000 visa applications a year from students, family members and prospective immigrants. While official statistics aren’t available, one senior Canadian diplomat estimated at least a quarter of those applications are refused because of fraud.

“More would be if the processing was completed, but sometimes you know it’s fraud and just refuse the request and close the file,”
the diplomat said.

India is Canada's top source for immigrants simply because of the volume of applications the country produces due to the size of its population. Of those who immigrate approximately half of them come from the state of Punjab. Punjab is home to the majority of India's Sikhs thus there are more Sikhs in Canada than Hindus. Hindus comprise the majority of India's population at 80%; Sikhs are only 2% (there are more Christians in India than Sikhs). In Canada Sikhs constitute roughly 50% of the Indo-Canadian community whereas Hindus are just over 30%.

In Punjab, "the average per-capita annual income of $484 is still the highest in the country" which means in relation to rest of their compatriots Punjabis are not necessarily hurting. They have money.

With that said we come to the second article. This one reveals the financial extent to which Punjabis go to send a son over-seas to secure "a better life" for the family. This can be realized in the form of remittances or the eventual importation of the entire family into western countries through family reunification schemes.

Now, though the story is presented as a tragic tale of a Punjabi family who only tried to make a better life for themselves I cannot say I share that sentiment. I believe they got what they deserved. You see, in India western citizenship is a status symbol and the article makes this clear.

In the small village of Kapure, it is not about keeping up with the Joneses. It’s about keeping up with the Gills and Dhaliwals.

On a narrow, dusty street, one house after the other boasts visible signs of prosperity — a fresh coat of paint, air conditioners, brick driveways and new cars. The children, playing hide and seek, wear Reebok and Nike.

The neighbours share not only affluence but also a common source of it — almost every family has a son, son-in-law or nephew living abroad and sending money home.

Every family, that is, except the Bhangus.


In many villages, almost every house has at least one person in North America, England or Europe.

Those that don’t, like the Bhangus, are considered pariahs,
says Krishan Chand, who’s been studying the effects of immigration on villages with the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development. They are excluded from events and, in some cases, parents are not able to find husbands for their daughters.

Thus starts the chase where these left-out families will do anything in the hope of sending a family member — usually a son — abroad.

This leaves them vulnerable to the smooth talk of unscrupulous immigration consultants. But the prospective immigrant is not a babe in the woods free of blame. They oftentimes participate in the fraud.

Typically agents provide prospective university and college students, and others, with fake bank statements and other doctored documents to support their visa requests, which are usually rejected without proof of one’s ability to pay school fees and living expenses.

Others provide their clients with fake passports and visas. Most are rejected.

A visa officer at the Chandigarh mission’s consular section told the Star’s Rick Westhead last year that the staff is deluged with applications sent with phony documents. “Over the past year, 85 per cent of employment letters related to work visa applications have been forgeries,” he said.


The Bhangus find it hard to believe they are living this nightmare.

Prabhjot says he resisted for some years but then started exploring various avenues, but found he couldn’t immigrate to Canada under the points system, or as a student or on a work permit.

The family knew there was a better chance of finding a well-to-do husband for Hardeep, who had turned 20, if Prabhjot was abroad.

That’s when Prabhjot says a friend from the village who now lives in Toronto introduced him to an immigration agent. The agent promised to take Prabhjot to Toronto for $48,000.

Things go downhill from there but at least he escapes with his life. Not so for Amandeep Kaur Dhillion. Remember her? The status seeking impulses of her Sikh family back in India sacrificed her happiness and sold her into a loveless marriage so that they can use her to immigrate to Canada. She was stabbed to death on January 1, 2009, her father-in-law was charged with first degree murder.

Punjab is a hot bed of fraud and so, in their infinite political wisdom, the Liberal Party of Canada opened a foreign mission right in the belly of the beast. Opened in 2004 to reward Sikh voting blocs for their loyal support Canada has the only foreign mission in Punjab's state capital. With an annual operating budget of around $25 million a year the mission serves no purpose other than to waste Canadian tax dollars by funneling scam artists, the pathetic, the mediocre, the greedy, the aged, all into Canada. But they eventually vote and isn't that what really matters in the end?

Jason Kenney, Canada's minister responsible for immigration, was in India recently to specifically address the immigration abuses Canada is subjected to by Indian applicants, particularly those in Punjab. Well good luck with that. Why should India care? Why would India want to curb the steady outflow of non-resident Indians into foreign countries who can then influence domestic politics and the economy to satisfy India's interests?

Forget India. Canada needs to protect itself and the way to do that is to shut down the damn, useless mission in Chandigarh. For one thing it plays into the hands of the immigration consultants in the state by making the execution of their scams all the more easier. In this regard Canada is an accomplice to the crimes.

Also, what quality of immigrant is the mission helping to import into the nation when many of the applications are clearly fraudulent? If these people are willing to go so far as to defraud the Canadian government and the people it represents then they don't deserve to come to Canada at all. And what kind of Canadians will they be, if you can call them that, if Canadian citizenship is nothing more to them than a status symbol on par with an expensive car and fancy golf clubs?

Canada needs to shut down the mission as well as curtail immigration from India altogether. We simply accept far too many immigrants from that country to be of any worth. And of that county a considerable sum come from one particular region. Indeed this is characteristic of the immigration system as a whole. Almost 60% of immigrants come from Asia and of that 60% most come from a few source countries chiefly India, China, and the Philippines. This doesn't say much about diversity in the immigration system now does it?

I don't think the mission will be shut down at all. As I mentioned before Sikhs constitute roughly 50% of the Indo-Canadian community. Because of this disproportionate over-representation in Canada, coupled with their clout as a well organized voting bloc, Canada's political parties trip over each other to insincerely pander to the Sikh community for political support. There's votes to be had and if a stagnant economy with an 8.1% unemployment rate isn't enough to encourage Canada's governing parties to curb immigration then don't expect anything to be done respecting Indian immigration fraud.


Anonymous said...

PaxCanadiana: I sense a bit more passion here, and rightly so with good reason!

Being another member of this "land of trusting fools" (how appropriate), I've come to the conclusion that engaging in any polite discourse and diplomacy with "politically-correct" politicians, gov't bureaucrats and immigration workers etc. only serves to re-affirm their self-serving arrogance in these matters. It appears polite tolerance only inflames their determination to do it their way, regardless how it affects the people, our economy, or our culture.

You (and others) are providing enough details that should rile Canadians into some organized form of mass demonstration, but I see little action on that front.

Sure, we "polite Canadians" can sit around our kitchen tables and gripe over the rapidly changing demographics of our welfare society that's being used and abused, but we need to break the strangle-hold that P.C. has over our power of speech.

On the topic of tolerance, I'm reminded of this great article you may find interesting.

Canada Immigration said...

Immigration on a whole is very beneficial to Canada and its residents. History tells repeatedly that it is human kind that loses its privileges. Immigration is good for Canada and its people in any way you consider but the undue advantage taken by a few people in the name of refugee act bestowed by Canadian government is being highly misused. We have to wait and see how far Canada can allow people in the name of refugees. Of course, humanitarian concerns are to be given the highest priority for human kind’s development and survival but misuse of a system is highly deplorable. Let us all pray that the gates of immigration be not closed for all those good people and eligible aspirants just because of the refugees who infiltrate this country and can be a bigger and unsolvable problem. As of now Canada is large in heart and resources.

PaxCanadiana said...

Immigration on a whole is very beneficial to Canada and its residents.

Has immigration increased the standard of living for Canadians? Has it increased our earning potential and take home pay? How are Canadians benefited by living in over populated city states wrought on by non-traditional immigration where they feel like strangers in their own country? I can go on but it suffices me to say that the costs outweigh any benefits you seem to imagine. In actuality all the benefits are bestowed upon immigrants, not Canadians who end up paying for those benefits in one way or another.

Immigration is good for Canada and its people in any way you consider but the undue advantage taken by a few people in the name of refugee act bestowed by Canadian government is being highly misused.

You need to get it in your head that it is not a few people abusing the system but in fact the abuse is endemic to the system. The result is the steady inflow of people who otherwise should not be admitted into the country. They are using the refugee system for immigration purposes and Canada is viewed, rightly so, as a sucker.

With that said I may be moderating your comments more closely by which I mean deleting them. It's not that you say anything offensive it's that I believe you are using the blog as a way to advertise yours which I assume is one tied to the immigration industry. You can post as an individual but not as Canada Immigration.

Shawn Deny said...

And what kind of Canadians will they be, if you can call them that, if Canadian citizenship is nothing more to them than a status symbol on par with an expensive car and fancy golf clubs?
canadian immigration consultant