Concerns Regarding Immigration-Related Scams Increase as International Students in Canada Face Deportation
August 3, 2023Garson Immigration Law
Canada’s immigration system has undergone substantial change in recent years. As the restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic eased, Canada unveiled new immigration plans in order to increase immigration numbers. Immigration to Canada reached an all-time high in 2022 and is set to do so again in 2023. Increased immigration to the country provides opportunities for more foreign nationals to come to Canada and eventually become permanent residents. To help reach these immigration targets, Canadian companies seek to hire more foreign workers to address labour shortages, and there are initiatives in place to encourage international students to study in Canada.
Increasing immigration numbers are positive in many ways. However, there is an unscrupulous side to the rising immigration numbers that seems to be becoming more prevalent. As immigration to Canada continues to increase, immigration scams have seemingly become more common, resulting in devastating and far-reaching consequences for the victims involved. Scams can impact immigrants in various ways, so it is important to work with an experienced immigration lawyer to ensure that you apply to legitimate immigration streams.
International Students From India Facing Deportation
Recently it became known that hundreds of international students from India had fallen victim to various immigration scams and are facing potential deportation. The scam involved international students coming to Canada on the basis of fraudulent letters of admission from Canadian schools.
According to reports, many of these students were lured to Canada in 2018 and 2019 by corrupt travel agents or visa agents in India who promised them admission to Canadian institutions in exchange for large amounts of money. The agents then provided the students with fake admission letters and other documents, which the students then used to obtain study permits for Canada.
Once the students arrived in Canada, they discovered that the letters of admission were counterfeit and that they had been scammed. Many of the students were left in a difficult situation, with no way to pay for their tuition and living expenses and no legal way to stay in Canada. As their status is set to expire, many students face the threat of deportation, despite holding work permits and having Canadian employment experience.
Other Recent Immigration-Related Scams
Unfortunately, there have been additional immigration-related scams which have recently been uncovered in Canada. In the last six months, there have been several other immigration-related scams that have been reported. In-Canada scams, such as phone scams, can disproportionately impact immigrants. These scams involve a caller who impersonates a Canadian government worker, such as an agent of the Canadian Revenue Agency, directly asking for the named individual and requesting funds in order to fulfill a false payment. Due to cultural differences and language barriers, immigrants may be more susceptible to these scams.
Scams may also impact individuals outside of Canada who are seeking to immigrate to Canada in some capacity. It was recently discovered that in 2022, a man from Ghana was asked for money by a fake law firm in order to pay for a “Canadian health ministry insurance fee” as part of a supposed work permit application in relation to an offer to work at a church in Newfoundland and Labrador. When the man became suspicious and investigated further, he found that the church did not actually exist and the agency was fraudulent.
Newcomers to Canada should be on the lookout for scams and should be cautious if they receive a photo call asking for money, particularly in relation to immigration applications. If an offer seems too good to be true, it very well might be. Therefore, it is important not to make any quick decisions and ensure you proceed cautiously. To ensure that you obtain the best, legitimate advice regarding Canadian immigration, be sure to work with a trusted immigration lawyer.
Proceeding with Caution
Immigration scams are a tragedy for both the affected students and the Canadian education and immigration systems as a whole. Canada has a reputation as a welcoming and inclusive country that values diversity and education. However, incidents like this threaten to undermine that reputation. International students are extremely lucrative to Canada’s economy, as they pay higher tuition fees than Canadian-born students. Aside from a financial incentive, immigrants holding a Canadian education often become permanent residents and citizens, consequently becoming a valuable source of labour.
Determining how best to prevent similar scams is a critical consideration. While the Canadian government could implement stricter regulations and oversight of the education and immigration industries, this would likely see pushback from post-secondary education institutions. Alternatively, colleges and universities in Canada could work to improve their recruitment practices and partnerships with international agents to ensure that they are only working with reputable and trustworthy individuals and organizations. However, these measures can be difficult to implement given the varying nature of these types of scams and regulating such scams from within Canada could be difficult.
In any event, it is important for individuals seeking to immigrate to Canada to work with trusted and reputable individuals and ensure they undertake appropriate due diligence to mitigate their risk of becoming a victim of a scam.
Contact Garson Immigration Law in Toronto for Assistance with Immigration Applications
Garson Immigration Law is a Toronto-based immigration law firm that proudly helps clients find solutions to their unique immigration needs. Our skilled immigration lawyers provide clients with advice on a range of immigration issues, including permanent residence applications and overcoming inadmissibility. Our exclusive focus on immigration law allows us to understand the unique concerns and obstacles faced by our clients, such as the recent scam discoveries, and adapt to the ever-changing immigration landscape in Canada. To speak with a member of our team regarding your immigration questions, contact us online or call us at 416-321-2860.
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