The Canada Border Services Agency declined to say whether these fraudulent visas are being used by spies, criminals, economic migrants or bogus refugees.

By Robert Fife & Steven Chase (The Globe and Mail) |

Canadian border agents and airlines are being warned to be on the lookout for tampered Canadian visas from Chinese nationals coming from Shanghai and the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, but Ottawa is being tight-lipped about the extent of the problem and threat to this country’s security.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale confirmed to The Globe and Mail that there has been a significant spike in Chinese nationals who have been caught carrying altered Canadian visa documents to gain illegal entry into Canada. He was unable to explain how genuine Canadian temporary resident visas ended up in the hands of forgers.

There are as many as 60,000 Chinese nationals living and working in Ethiopia, a hot spot for investment from China over the past decade.

“Whoever the traveler may be, it is important that border officers be alert to the risks and the dangers,” Mr. Goodale said in an interview. “I can’t comment on any specific situation but I can say that our officials are alert to the risk and they are very, very assiduous at detecting illegitimacy and making sure that our system maintains its integrity.”

The Canada Border Services Agency declined to say whether these fraudulent visas are being used by spies, criminals, economic migrants or bogus refugees. The Globe and Mail obtained the confidential alert that was issued last Thursday.

“An alert is an internal CBSA mechanism providing information on issues of concern for CBSA staff in Canada and abroad,” the agency said in a brief statement. “Where relevant, the CBSA shares information with its partners to identify border-related threats to protect the safety and security of Canadians.”

Temporary resident visas (TRV) are issued to tourists, foreign workers and international students, usually for a period of six months. Criminal, security and medical background checks are conducted before a visa is issued.

Like other countries, Canada outsources the processing of visa applications in China. Private companies submit them on behalf of Chinese applicants.

Continue reading this story on The Globe and Mail
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