Canada aims to put a stop to the so called 'pregnancy tourim' or 'passport babies'.
27 February 2012
Canadian immigration authorities crackdown on pregnancy scam
Canadian immigration authorities have announced their intention to combat 'passport babies' or 'birth tourism' - the growing trend of foreign nationals entering the country and hiding their pregnancies with the intention of giving birth in the country and therefore providing their child with Canadian citizenship.
A recent report claimed that several independent 'consultants' in China have been showing Chinese women on the best ways of concealing their pregnancies from authorities as well as instructing them on how to complete tourism or student Canadian visa applications.
"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 a spokesperson for Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
"We condemn the practise of circumventing our laws to game the system, leaving Canadian taxpayers with the bill. This is unfair and not right."
The report, published by a Hong Kong newspaper, claimed that several consultants instructed women to wear baggy clothes which would hide their pregnancies, not to take any baby clothes and to wait until they went into labour to go to a hospital.
Under Canadian law, any one born in the country is automatically entitled to citizenship and therefore cannot be deported. As a dependant, desperate foreign mothers hope that they will be allowed to stay to care of their children.
However, Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney stated that Canada and the US are the only countries in the developed world which offer citizenship to anyone born in the country and he has asked his department's staff to look at a possible alternative.
"The idea is we don't want to encourage birth tourism or what some people call passport babies," said Mr Kenney.
"Maybe our citizenship laws are rooted in a time when people couldn't fly over here, fly in and out so quickly, so easily. I think maybe there's a need to modernise our approach."
The Canadian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people make their application to the Canadian Embassy.