Canada attracts millions of visitors each year as tourists, international students pursuing higher education, temporary workers after job opportunities and permanent residents.
The prospect of living in a developed country with a high standard of living, attaining degrees from renowned institutions and earning in a comparatively stronger Canadian currency lures many immigrants and students from around the world.
Unfortunately, the popularity of Canadian immigration has also made it a prime target for scammers in Canada and the source countries. Scammers prey on the desires of students and immigrants willing to jump through hoops for a chance to move or study in Canada. The Canadian government often has limited options in tackling these activities when they originate outside its borders.
Common immigration scams
Newcomers are especially susceptible to immigration scams due to their unfamiliarity with Immigration systems and practices. The scams range from fake jobs and housing offers, unverified immigration consultants, scammers who extort newcomers while acting as immigration officials, and cyber scams- where tech-savvy scammers phish for your sensitive personal and financial information with malicious intent.
Safeguards against scammers
On the news recently, over 700 Indian students are facing deportation after their admission offer letters -arranged for by an overseas immigration consulting agency in Jalandhar were revealed to be fake. This was a case of ‘ghost consultants’ where the party responsible for the illegal documents were unverified consultants who have since disappeared along with the students’ fees.
Newcomers requiring immigration advice should only use the services of Licensed immigration consultants authorized by the CICC. Legally, they are only consultants permitted to give you immigration advice for a fee.
All licensed immigration consultants can be found in this Public register.
Scammers posing as Canadian officials
This scam commonly relies on threats of deportation and other immigration complications to unsettle newcomers and extort cash under the pretence of government action. To be safe, always remember that the IRCC will never:
- contact you over the telephone to collect fees or fines
- be aggressive or threaten to arrest or deport you
- threaten to harm you or a member of your family, or damage your home or property
- ask for personal information over the phone (except to verify information you already gave)
- ask for financial information over the phone
- try to rush you into paying right away
- ask you to pay fees using prepaid credit cards, Western Union, Money Gram, gift cards, or any other similar services, or
- send police to arrest you for unpaid fees.
You can always check up with the IRCC’s call centre if you’re unsure whether a call was genuine.