During a Skype conversation, a friend of mine who applied for Permanent Residence remarked, “It is tough to get into Canada, and the screening process is very stringent. Do you know how many tests I had to go through? Is there any other way I can immigrate to the country?” The conversation ended on a rather dim note, but I encouraged him to approach this the legal way, not just because it is the right thing to do, but also because we need to be wary of fraudsters.
Unfortunately, immigration fraud is not new to Canada and CBSA and its partners have cracked down on a number of immigration fraudsters in the past. A recent CBC news investigation found that a Saskatchewan business owner was offered cash in exchange for a job offer to a Chinese national. Following the expose, three other people came forward to report similar experiences.
The report says that in all, CBSA said the couple “illegally received $600,000 from Chinese nationals” and “paid out approximately $95,000 to seventeen different Saskatchewan business owners.” In documents seized from the couple, investigators found the names of 1,229 people. The province had received immigration applications from 422 of them. CBSA also found that 27 of those had their applications rejected, but 78 had already become permanent residents.
What drives people to take a back-door approach? Most of the time, it is the lure of Permanent Residence and a promise of a better life and future. Lawyers believe that Permanent Residence is viewed as an “asset and a precious commodity” which is why many people choose the easy way out and end up paying through the nose to people posing as immigration consultants.
Incidentally, language barrier seems to be an important reason as to why people are being tricked by fraudsters. A recent report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration titled, ‘Starting Again-Improving Government Oversight of Immigration Consultants’ presented in the Parliament says, “Many individuals looking to come or immigrate to Canada do not speak either “official language sufficiently to navigate the system on their own”. For that reason, they rely on others to understand and complete the application as well as to communicate with IRCC. This makes it difficult for them to determine if the service they receive from a consultant is legitimate. They might not even know “whether or not the consultant has identified himself or herself in the application.”
The report further states that “Due to language barriers, individuals go to the sources they are most familiar with, including newspapers or websites in their first language.”
MCIS understands that very often applicants who speak Limited or No English trust the wrong people. We believe in creating a positive social impact by removing language barriers and improving access to critical information. So, the next time you feel someone is gullible and is likely to be tricked into paying loads of money to an immigration fraudster, refer them to us; we might be able to get them the assistance they need.
Vivek Vijayapalan, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Toronto, Ontario, July 19, 2017