News / Ottawa

New immigration rules to speed claims, target fraud: Minister

New immigration rules passed Thursday will slash the time it takes for refugees to seek asylum and speedily remove those with bogus claims, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Friday.

"Ours is a country open to new comers," Kenney said. "This legislation will help stop foreign criminals, human smugglers and those with unfounded refugee claims from abusing Canada's generous immigration system."

The Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act aims to drop the processing time of new claims from more than 1,000 days to just over a month for refugees from turbulent countries. The change hopes to save $1.65 billion in five years.

"With one quarter of a million people entering Canada per year since we came to office," Kenny said, "we now have the highest per capita number of resettled refugees in the world."

With the influx of people comes the need to streamline the system, Kenny said adding the new rules also target human smuggling.

The new rules allow people who are smuggled into Canada to be detained for more than 14 days and prevents them from applying for permanent residency for five years.

Biometric data

Biometric data will also be collected from those seeking to live, work or study in Canada, he said.

The government hopes the information will help catch people with criminal records.

"A lot of these war criminals have come to Canada under false identities," he said, indicating that biometric data will help identify accused criminals.

"We can then deny admission to those who we think may be a risk to Canada."

Kenney said in recent years Canada has received more refugee claims from Europe than Asia or Africa.

"Most of the bogus asylum claims are from the democratic EU," he said.

"About 90 per cent of those claimants abandon their claims. Now those decisions will be made quickly and they will be removed quickly."

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