The applicants include an unusual and suspicious
number of prospective "live-in caregivers,"
according to the irony-laden report.
office has identified over 160 'nanny schools'
in the Punjab. While some of these schools are
bona fide schools, there are a considerable
number lacking facilities, equipment and
students - but having large graduating classes!"
the report told senior officials at Citizenship
and Immigration Canada.
"Many of the applicants are male - in a
society where childcare and eldercare is seen as
the sphere of women."
Kurland said the documents prove bureaucrats
were correct and the politicians, anxious to
reward Punjabi-Canadian Liberal supporters
clamoring for better immigration services, were
wrong to open the mission.
"Liberals yearned for Indo-Canadian votes,
and even though officials advised politicians
that Chandigarh was always a hotbed of false
documents, Liberal politics trumped logic,"
Kurland told CanWest News Service.
"And now Canada's immigration system gets to
pay the price for Liberal 'pragmatism.'"
With a backlog of more than 2,000 applicants
- most saying they plan to work as nannies for
relatives in Canada - the processing time is
estimated at up to 30 months.
The report pleads for extra staff and notes
the difficulty in getting Canadian immigration
officers to work in Chandigarh, just 250
kilometres from the Canadian High Commission in
New Delhi, where applicants used to go.
Canada has the only diplomatic mission in the
city so there are no suitable schools for
children, and few opportunities to socialize.
Canadian visa officers "are readily
recognizable as foreigners and offers of
friendship often lead to visa requests."
The report acknowledges the high political
profile of the mission, which was opened over
the objections of senior Canadian bureaucrats
because of pressure from Indo-Canadian community
activists and politicians such as Herb Dhaliwal,
a senior minister in the former government of
"The Chandigarh Visa Office ... holds a high
profile in the large and politically active
Punjabi community in Canada."
The report also said there is evidence of
"second-level fraud" now being investigated in
The visa office received 2,200 enquiries from
MPs' offices in Canada in 2006 about
applications of interest to their constituents,
up from 1,444 the previous year.
In 2004, Raj Chahal, a former senior adviser
to Chretien, told The Vancouver Sun that the
office was opened over the objections of both
Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the
Department of Foreign Affairs and International
"It was a political decision," Chahal said,
adding that bureaucrats felt scarce resources
should have been used to open up visa offices in
higher-priority areas elsewhere in India and
other key Asian countries.
Internal documents revealed the mission would
cost $25 million over five years.