Canada’s tourist visas are vulnerable to a serious flaw, according to a new report by the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business.
The study by senior economist and University of Alberta economist Andrew Pincus looked at the Canadian tourist visa program from 2006 to 2015.
It found that the Canadian system is highly vulnerable to fraud, including the use of fake documents.
Pincus found that there were 6,000 counterfeit Canadian tourist visas issued in 2015, but only 1,000 were used for permanent residence.
“Canada’s tourist visa system is extremely vulnerable to the use by foreign nationals to obtain permanent resident status,” Pincuses report said.
“This risk has been well-documented in other jurisdictions, such as the United Kingdom and Australia, where a similar risk exists.”
The report also found that in 2016, the number of temporary visitors to Canada doubled to 1.4 million, and that over half of these tourists were foreign nationals.
This means that nearly a third of the 6,500,000 tourists visiting Canada in 2016 were foreign visitors who came in by boat or air.
Pricings for visas can vary significantly, with prices often rising to double or triple what the Canadian government is paying for the same class of visa.
“These high prices could be driving more Canadians to take the risk of applying for temporary resident status by traveling by air or boat,” the report said, noting that Canadian officials could be “making a very high-risk decision based on a flawed understanding of the value of their visa.”
The government has been cracking down on visa fraud for years, but Pincuss said this is the first time that he has seen a significant increase in fraud.
“We’re seeing an increase in the number and types of fraudulent visa applications, and it appears to be on the rise,” Plicus said.