20 November, 2019

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WikiLeaks: Sri Lankan’s Visa Fraud Techniques – Non Immigrant

By Colombo Telegraph –

“During the reporting period from March 1 to August 31, 2009, officers referred 335 NIV cases to the Fraud Prevention Unit (FPU). Of those, fraud was confirmed in 42 cases (12.5%) and 39 are still pending further investigation. During the same period in 2008, 240 cases were referred to FPU, with fraud confirmed in 13 cases (5.4%).” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

The Colombo Telegraph found the related cable from WikiLeaks database, which details the background of Visa Frauds. The cable is signed by the Ambassador Patricia Butenis on November 18, 2009.

Ambassador Butenis wrote “Sri Lankans use a variety of techniques to fraudulently obtain visas. Small-time document vendors provide fake vital records and business documents that are relatively easy to spot, while sophisticated human smugglers provide convincing identity and financial documents that are difficult to detect. In several recent cases, Sri Lankans have purchased backdated entry stamps at the airport to hide overstays in the U.S. and elsewhere.”

“Sri Lankan mala fide travelers with an ultimate destination in North America typically have family or friends waiting with a job and housing. A significant number of human smugglers and visa fraud facilitators operate in Sri Lanka, charging as much as $10,000 for false documentation to submit with a U.S. visa application, and up to $25,000 for a “full service” of documents plus other facilitation, such as by posing as family members or business associates. Post has seen false family relationships; fictitious marriages and divorces; false financial, employment and academic documentation; ringers posing as members of sports and entertainment groups; and false religious workers. Post recently discovered that a youth kung fu team traveling to a competition in Florida was apparently a cover story for the president of the sporting association to deliver the children to waiting relatives already illegally in the United States.” she further wrote.

Below we give the relevant part of the confidential cable;

Related news  WikiLeaks: Sri Lankans Represent The Fourth Most Frequently Offloaded Nationality On U.S.-Bound Flights

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 09 COLOMBO 001045 SIPDIS DEPT FOR CA/FPP; DEPT ALSO PASS TO KCC; DHS FOR CIS/FDNS; ADDRESSEE POSTS FOR FRAUD PREVENTION MANAGERS; BANGKOK FOR RCO WILL LAIDLAW E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: KFRD[Fraud Prevention Programs], CVIS [Visas], CPAS[Passport and Citizenship], CMGT[Consular Administration and Management], ASEC [Security], CE[Sri Lanka]

SUBJECT: FRAUD SUMMARY – SRI LANKA —————————-

A. Country Conditions —————————-

¶1. Political insecurity and socioeconomic conditions put pressure on Sri Lankans of all ages and societal classes to migrate legally and illegally to the United States. In May 2009, the Sri Lankan government announced victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), an armed insurgent group, after more than 25 years of civil conflict. Despite the conclusion of formal hostilities, the lengthy conflict has left lingering instability. Severe lags in socioeconomic development persist, particularly in the north and east of the country. Throughout the country, economic conditions are relatively poor, with high inflation and weak government spending on social services. Large numbers of Sri Lankans traditionally migrate for employment to the Middle East, Europe, East Asia, and North America, through both legal and illegal means. Early indications are that the global economic slowdown has significantly impacted Sri Lankans working both domestically and abroad.

¶2. The consular section sees medium to high levels of fraud from all three major ethnic groups in Sri Lanka: Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim. Many Muslims speak the Tamil language but do not identify with ethnic Tamils and are considered a separate ethnic group. Despite the country’s relatively small population and lack of direct flights to the U.S., Sri Lankans represent the fourth most frequently offloaded nationality on U.S.-bound flights, according to 2008 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) statistics.

¶3. The largest Sri Lankan diaspora community is in Toronto, Canada, where over 250,000 people of Sri Lankan origin (primarily ethnic Tamils) live. Severe restrictions imposed by the Canadian government on Sri Lankan visitor travel have resulted in many mala fide travelers applying at Embassy Colombo hoping to reach Canada over the land border. Within the U.S., preferred destinations for both legal and illegal immigrants are New York and California. Human smugglers charge as much as $40,000 a person for passage from Sri Lanka to North America. ————————————-

B. Non-Immigrant Visa Fraud ————————————-

NIV FRAUD – GENERAL TRENDS

¶4. During the reporting period from March 1 to August 31, 2009, officers referred 335 NIV cases to the Fraud Prevention Unit (FPU). Of those, fraud was confirmed in 42 cases (12.5%) and 39 are still pending further investigation. During the same period in 2008, 240 cases were referred to FPU, with fraud confirmed in 13 cases (5.4%).

¶5. Sri Lankan mala fide travelers with an ultimate destination in North America typically have family or friends waiting with a job and housing. A significant number of human smugglers and visa fraud facilitators operate in Sri Lanka, charging as much as $10,000 for false documentation to submit with a U.S. visa application, and up to $25,000 for a “full service” of documents plus other COLOMBO 00001045 002 OF 009 facilitation, such as by posing as family members or business associates. Post has seen false family relationships; fictitious marriages and divorces; false financial, employment and academic documentation; ringers posing as members of sports and entertainment groups; and false religious workers. Post recently discovered that a youth kung fu team traveling to a competition in Florida was apparently a cover story for the president of the sporting association to deliver the children to waiting relatives already illegally in the United States.

¶6. Sri Lankans use a variety of techniques to fraudulently obtain visas. Small-time document vendors provide fake vital records and business documents that are relatively easy to spot, while sophisticated human smugglers provide convincing identity and financial documents that are difficult to detect. In several recent cases, Sri Lankans have purchased backdated entry stamps at the airport to hide overstays in the U.S. and elsewhere.

¶7. Post continues to see problems with seemingly non-qualified host government officials and domestics applying for A and G visas. Employers of Sri Lankan domestics, who include Middle Eastern, African, and other Sri Lankan diplomats, typically provide only weak or questionable evidence that domestics will be paid in accordance with U.S. law. In some cases, diplomats have tried a number of tactics, ranging from claiming their domestics are actually government employees eligible for A2 status, to claiming that they are paid in cash, presumably to avoid paying U.S. minimum or prevailing wages. A number of Sri Lankans, in the U.S. both illegally and legally, regularly adjust onto A visas by obtaining low-level jobs at foreign embassies. Indications are that some of these embassy jobs do not exist, and Post suspects active facilitation on the part of certain missions, particularly African and other Asian missions, as well as the Sri Lankan missions in Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; and New York City.

 

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