Sat | Oct 21, 2017

Immigration Corner: I think I've been scammed!

Published:Tuesday | May 3, 2016 | 12:00 AM
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Dear Ms Powell:

I'm sure you have heard about the dozens of recruiting companies here in Jamaica taking people's money and not finding them jobs in Canada as promised. My friend told me about one that she thought would have been better than the ones here, so I paid some money to the recruiting company located in Ontario, Canada. They said they could find me a job as a hotel worker or domestic helper, as this would help me to get extra points so I could be admitted in the express-entry programme.

I was very excited as they seemed like a legit company. However, since I paid them, they haven't been taking my calls or responding to my emails. I only get computer-generated responses. I haven't even received one job interview. I emailed and told them to get me the job they had promised or return my money. they haven't answered.

Can I report them to the Canadian High Commission to get back my money or give me a job as promised? Can I sue them in Jamaica? At least four of my friends would join me against this company. All of us work at the same hotel. What can I do?

- JT

Dear JT:

I am sorry to hear about your experience with that Canadian recruiting company. I have written many articles, reminding individuals not to use recruiting companies that ask for a fee for their services.

Most legitimate companies/ recruiters are paid by approved employers to assist with finding suitably qualified and experienced workers.

The employers are usually companies that have a valid Labour Market Impact Assessment Report (LMIA) or are exempt from LMIA requirement.

Furthermore, you do not need a job offer in order to be admitted into the express-entry pool.

If the recruiter has failed to uphold promises and has taken money from you, you may make a complaint, not to the Canadian High Commission in your home country, but you may contact the Ministry of Labour in Canada and make a claim under the Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act, 2009. You can find the claim form and other information on the website: www.Ontario.ca/EPFNA.

Under the EPFNA, recruiters involved in finding employment for foreign nationals, employers and their representatives are prohibited from charging or attempting to recover recruiting costs from foreign nationals.

The recruiter and prospective employer are prohibited from charging you costs linked to the hiring process. Such costs include hiring fees, application fees, advertising costs, LMIA application fees and cost.

 

Some employers exempt

 

You should also note that some employers are exempt from this strict requirement. These are employers who hire individuals under the federal government's Seasonal Agricultural Worker Programme (SAWP).

Under SWAP, certain employment contracts allow the employer to deduct the costs of air travel and work permit costs. The employer and recruiting company would need to provide the employee with this information up front, if applicable. If this was not provided beforehand, a claim can be made to recover these funds.

The act expressly prohibits recruiters from charging any fees to foreign nationals to find them a job and prohibits them taking your passport, work permit and other original documents.

Remedy is available to any foreign national working in or attempting to find work in Ontario under an immigration or foreign temporary-employee programme. The recruiter has a duty to provide you with the required information sheets about your rights and duties. This should be provided free of cost.

You can submit a claim against the recruiting company, a recruiter, a person acting on behalf of a recruiting company, an employer or a person acting for the employer, provided that you have your relevant proof.

In your case you may make a claim against the recruiting company and anyone who purports to be an agent or agents of the recruiting company.

You will need to provide background information and have credible facts in support of your claim. That means providing the full name, mailing address, telephone number, email and website of the recruiter.

If there is a local representative, then you should put the name, address and telephone number of the local recruiter as well. You will also need to submit proof of payment of fees and correspondences and contract with the recruiter.

You should provide details of your claim, including dates and all relevant information to assist the employment standards officer to investigate your claim.

You will have up to three-and-a-half years of the alleged misconduct, to file your claim. You may submit your completed claim form and supporting documents to:

Provincial Claims Centre

Ministry of Labour

70 Foster Drive,

Suite 410, Roberta Bodar Place,

Sault Ste Marie

Ontario, Canada P6A 6V4.

Fax: 1888.252.4684. Telephone 1416.326.7160

Once your file has been received by the Ministry of Labour and your form has been properly completed, you will be provided a claim number and your case assigned to an investigator.

- Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public. Submit your questions and comments to: info@deidrepowell.com or call 613.695.8777.