Sun | Nov 28, 2021

Look out for immigration scammers

Published:Tuesday | June 10, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Deidre S. Powell

Dear Ms Powell,

I am a truck driver working in Jamaica and I am eager to work in Canada. Someone told me about an agency here in Jamaica and I contacted them. They said they can guarantee me work in Canada and that they can get me the work permit. They are charging me CA$4,000 to get this done. They mentioned that the CA$4,000 is to prepare my documents. However, a friend got a job at a hotel and said she didn't have to pay so much for hers. I tried linking with that person who helped her, but the man said he was only looking for hotel workers. Then I heard that I can get permanent residence and don't need a work permit. I see all kinds of advertisements online and in the newspaper. I'm very confused. I don't want to get scammed. How can I know who is legit?

- PS

Dear PS,

I have written several articles advising people about immigration scams. In fact, since Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has reopened the federal skilled worker (FSWP) and federal skilled trade programmes (FSTP) many persons have contacted me asking about providing them jobs and work permits to move to Canada and the United States.

So once again, I'm going to share the facts with you and other readers so that you can identify scammers and safeguard yourselves.

First and foremost, no one but an immigration officer at the Canadian embassy/visa office can guarantee you an authentic work permit; no other person - not an immigration lawyer, immigration consultant, paralegal, notary, recruiting company, employer or agency. So if someone says you are guaranteed a work permit, you should be on the alert. If the offer seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

Be on the lookout for phrases such as:

Guaranteed work permits! Free scholarships! High-paying jobs in Canada with minimal or no experience needed! Free air tickets and accommodation! Guaranteed employment! Special programmes! Earn $4,000 a month as hotel cleaner or truck driver! Get permanent residence without a degree! Work as a live-in helper for $500 per week!

Watch out for telephone calls from individuals claiming to be calling from CIC, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), or US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) asking for personal information for verification of your account/application.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Who are authorised representatives?

CIC will only accept applications from those who are authorised to do so. You could waste valuable time and money if you do not use an authorised representative to assist you with your application.

Authorised representatives are:

1 Lawyers and notaries who are in good standing with their law society that governs the jurisdiction in which they practice. So you would need to check the regulatory body for the particular country, province or state. The lawyers who are authorised to practice are usually listed on the organisation's website. For example:

a. Jamaica - General Legal Council - www.generallegalcouncil.org

b. Province of Ontario - www.lsuc.on.ca

c. Province of British Colombia - www.lawsociety.bc.ca

d. Florida - www.floridabar.org

e. New York - www.nysba.org/

2 Immigration consultants must be registered with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) and must be accredited as a Regulated Immigration Consultant (RCIC) in order to be able to represent you. You may find a list of accredited immigration consultants on their website: www.iccrc-crcic.ca.

3 Some paralegals who are a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada (Ontario only) are authorised to accept fees for assisting clients. Check the LSUC website to ensure that the paralegal is registered.

Should you pay for Labour Market Opinion (LMO)/ Arranged Employment Opinion (AEO) reports? NO!

If you are applying under the FSTP to become a permanent resident, your occupation must be listed on CIC website as one of the eligible occupations. While railway carmen or women, conductors brakemen and crane operators are listed, there is nothing listed for drivers at this time, under this category.

If your occupation was listed, your prospective employer would need to give you an AEO, which they would get from Employment and Social Development Canada, and this would be submitted with your application under the FSTP. You do not need to pay for the AEO.

When a prospective employer is looking to recruit a temporary foreign worker then it is the responsibility of the employer to provide you with a positive LMO from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. You would then use this to support your application for work permit. A work permit is temporary and does not give you the rights of a permanent resident. You do not pay the employer or recruiter for this. Any company that tells you they need money from you to apply for an LMO is acting fraudulently and this should be reported.

The application fee for your work permit is CA$150, which is paid directly to the Visa Application Centre (VAC). You should note that if you are using an authorised representative, they may charge you a fee for the preparation of your documents, but they cannot guarantee that you will be absolutely successful. That can only be guaranteed by CIC and their visa officers.

BE SMART

Investigate the person, company or agency. Ask your friends and family for referrals. Be smart and get receipts for all payments. Most importantly, you should be able to communicate directly with the authorised representative and not just persons who claim to be the agent of the representative. If the representative is always 'unavailable', then chances are the person you are dealing with is not an agent of the authorised representative.

Check my website, www.deidrepowell.com, my blog, The Gleaner's website for past articles and www.cic.gc.ca for additional information on how to avoid being scammed. You should also report the person or agency to your local police and the Canadian Border Security if they are providing you with false information. Ensure that you have credible proof of the activity if you want to be taken seriously.

Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars, with main office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Her areas of practice are in immigration, personal injury, real estate, commercial, family, and administration of estates. She is on the roster of mediators for Ottawa, Toronto, and the Dispute Resolution Foundation of Jamaica. Submit your questions and comments to: Email:info@deidrepowell.com subjectline: Immigration Facebook: Jamaicanlawyer .Tel: 613-695-8777.