The federal government is monitoring a second boatload of Sri Lankan migrants preparing to head for Canada, and has stepped up its co-operation with other countries against human smugglers, The Globe and Mail said.
With Ottawa preparing new legislation aimed a human trafficking, The Globe and Mail has learned that federal officials believe they have solid evidence that smugglers in southern Asia are preparing to send another boatload of migrants to this country, it said.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has promised to introduce sweeping legislation aimed at cracking down on human smuggling by increasing the deterrence.
This summer, a ship carrying 492 Tamil migrants that originated in Thailand landed in British Columbia. Federal officials said at the time that some of the passengers had connections to the Tamil Tigers, which is listed as a terrorist organization in Canada.
The new legislation and regulations – which could be introduced as early as this week – are expected to include changes to immigration laws that would make it more difficult for groups of people who arrive together to claim refugee status.
At the same time, Ottawa has increased its overseas enforcement effort, and is working with governments in Thailand and other countries where human smugglers are operating, government officials said Sunday.
Thailand last week arrested 155 Sri Lankan migrants under its immigration laws.
Those arrests “are a reminder that human smuggling operators have also used Thailand as a transit country to target Canada’s immigration system,” a government official said Sunday.
“While we will not comment on specific operational practices, stronger co-operation with authorities in transit countries such as Thailand is part of the government of Canada’s overall strategy to prevent human smugglers from abusing Canada’s immigration system”