Victims of immigration fraud – what can you do?
Posted on - Sep 17, 2019
By Catherine Sas, QC. & Anupama Nair, Paralegal
There are numerous documented examples of aspiring applicants for Canadian immigration falling prey to unscrupulous immigration consultants and advisors. These advisors, many of whome are based around the world, can end up sabotage their client’s chances of settling down in Canada, either temporarily or permanently. While most of the applicants are innocent victims who get manipulated by unethical immigration professionals – some of whom are not even licensed to provide immigration advice – others are conscious participants in fly-by-night schemes offered by self-proclaimed miracle workers in the immigration industry. These shortcuts typically involve circumventing the eligibility requirements and procedures laid out under the Canadian immigration system.
So if you have been ensnared in such a situation, what future recourse do you have?
Canada’s own Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen has commented on immigration fraud “While practicing law, I have seen the devastating effect these fraudulent ‘experts’ have had on vulnerable people”. As Vancouver Immigration lawyers we see daily incidents of clients who have fallen prey to immigration fraud.
These victims and abettors of Immigration fraud do not realize that in choosing the ‘illegal’ shortcuts to achieve their goal of coming to Canada they are putting themselves at significant risk not only of refusal of their application but also of a long-term prohibition of ever coming to Canada.
Examples of immigration fraud, present themselves at our office virtually every day.
Consider the following example:
A client of ours had applied for a study permit through an ‘agent’ and came to Canada to study as an international student. Upon landing in Canada, he was informed by the agent that the admission letter he had obtained for the client was not valid anymore and that he should proceed to obtain admission in another Canadian college and move to a city of his choice.
This client followed the agent’s instructions and a year later was arrested on campus by CBSA under charges of misrepresentation. What this client had been unaware of was that in his initial study permit application, the agent had submitted false documentation. IRCC became aware of this while when investigating a widescale fraud at a Canadian university. A common outcome of such illicit activity is a finding of ‘misrepresentation’ under Section 40 (1) of Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) which often results in a removal order for the applicant and a five-year prohibition from making any application to come to Canada.
Instances of such improper actions range from including providing false information on your application, signing blank application forms, entering into a marriage of convenience or accepting fake job offers to work illegally in Canada. Whether you have done so acting on the advice of a immigration consultant or on your own accord you can expect to face the full wrath of the law as a consequence.
One of the current and popular immigration schemes is to bring people to Canada as visitors and then soon after arrival have them apply for a work permit at a port of entry (POE) by way of ‘flag poling’. CBSA officers are now routinely issuing misrepresentation findings where there was no indication in the initial visitor visa applications that individuals would be looking to work in Canada.
Misrepresentation is a serious consequence that people looking for easy and fast ways to obtain work permits or other status in Canada, should definitely beware of as a potential outcome. Unqualified and improper immigration advice can be fatal to the future of your Canadian immigration dreams.
Each person’s situation is different, however taking a proactive approach in being candid with an immigration authority at the earliest opportunity and preferably before you come to the attention of IRCC or CBSA is in your best interest. Further, seeking legal advice as soon as you receive a negative decision from an immigration officer or tribunal is very is crucial to preserving any potential remedies.Whether you got into immigration trouble because of your own volition or because of a mistake committed by your immigration representative, you need reliable legal assistance immediately.
Always remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Catherine Sas, Q.C. is a Vancouver immigration lawyer at Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre in Vancouver, BC Canada. Catherine has been practicing law for over 30 years, and has been voted Vancouver’s Best Immigration Lawyer by the Georgia Straight newspaper for 9 consecutive years.
To learn more about immigrating to Canada, becoming a permanent Canadian resident or bringing your family to Canada, email Catherine Sas or call her at 1-604-689-5444.
Related Topics: family, Immigration, worker