A Saskatoon man has been charged for allegedly producing and distributing forged immigration documents.
Panashe Chaya, 23, is alleged to have produced fake permanent residency documents and then sold them to post-secondary students in Saskatoon and across Canada.
Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) launched an investigation into Chaya’s activities in January, which led to the execution of a search of his home on April 26, 2018.
Chaya was charged on July 25 with three counts under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and three counts under the Criminal Code.
“Canada’s diversity and welcoming of newcomers is part of its national identity, but unfortunately there are those who would exploit our generosity to make a profit,” said Nina Patel, the CBSA’s assistant regional director-general for the Prairie region.
“By enforcing the law and cracking down on fraud, the CBSA is preserving the integrity of our immigration system.”
The University of Saskatchewan (U of S) said it has fully cooperated with the CBSA during this investigation and would not confirm if the accused is a student.
The university is also doing everything in its power to ensure something similar will never happen again moving forward, according to Patti McDougall, the U of S vice-provost of teaching, learning and student experience.
“We have international student immigration advisors that are staff to support our students when it comes to complying with Canada’s immigration requirements and have a way for our students to access legal counsel through the university that can assist with more complicated immigration matters,” McDougall said.
“So I think the long and short of it is – we take this extremely seriously.”
Chaya was released from custody and is scheduled to be back in Saskatoon provincial court on Aug. 15.
The CBSA would not disclose what sparked the investigation and alleges Chaya committed the offences between July 1, 2017, and April 26.
When asked if charges of this nature are rare, the agency said every case is unique but this isn’t the first time charges have been laid in Saskatchewan as a result of a Saskatchewan IRPA investigation.
On Feb. 1, 2016, the CBSA pressed charges against two Regina residents for allegedly committing fraud and acting as unauthorized immigration consultants. Their trial is scheduled for Jan. 21 to Feb. 8, 2019.s
The CBSA enforces the IRPA and investigates cases of immigration documentation fraud, immigration consultant fraud, human smuggling, marriages of convenience, and employment of foreign nationals without authorization.