Over the past week, I have spoken with numerous potential clients who are the victims of shady immigration consultants. These cases are, alas, not unique. I have been handling cases involving misrepresentation for many years and I have won significant decisions at Federal Court; however, these cases continue to pile up, despite all the warnings online. Recently, CBC News has reported on an Indian citizen who is facing deportation as a result of a fraudulent document provided by her agent. According to her report, she was not aware the document was fraudulent until she applied for PR status and she now faces a 5 year ban from Canada.
On May 25, 2021, a Canada Border Services Agency employee told her the Seneca College letter was
Kaur said she was shocked by the revelation. She and her family didn’t know much about the immigration process and had trusted the agent.
Hiring immigration agents is a common practice for people in her community who hope to move abroad, she said.
Predatory immigration agents taking advantage of people hoping to come to or stay in Canada is common, says Marco Luciano, director of Migrante Alberta.
The above is correct. These “predatory” agents take advantage of their clients and they often charge extremely high fees for their service.
Recently, I spoke with a woman from Wales who is also the victim of a shady immigration consultant in Winnipeg. He messed up her case and she is now in Canada without status. She is afraid to post her experience online because he included a clause in his contract that he will sue her in Small Claims Court for $10,000 for defamation if she posts a negative review.
I have spoken with a Chinese citizen who paid her shady agent $30,000 for services only to find out the application was not submitted properly and she had been waiting for more than a year without an application in process.
In the past, the Government of Canada has issued a warning to avoid all Indian agents. While this may seem like an overly broad warning, I have heard of dozens of cases of Indian agents who take advantage of their clients. As noted above, the Indian woman in Edmonton does not have a unique situation. The media reports this cases over and over (and over) but the numbers do not seem to decrease.
I have posted numerous times on how to avoid this type of mistake. Misrepresentation may lead to a 5-year ban and, even when the applicant is clearly the victim, they may also suffer the harm. Section 40 of IRPA is not forgiving. It is a broad section that is punitive in nature.
When a client comes to Clarke Immigration Law with this type of mess, we can go to Federal Court and file an ALJR. It is a lengthy and expensive process. We won a significant case for one of our clients from Ukraine who could clearly show he was the victim of fraud.
Justice Ahmed agreed with our legal arguments and our client is now, thankfully, a Permanent Resident of Canada:
But taken together, the evidence ought to have raised the possibility of innocent misrepresentation in the mind of the Manager. Indeed, it is oft repeated that decision-makers are experts and presumed to know the law, and the narrowness of the innocent misrepresentation exemption to section 40 of the IRPA does not mean that it did not merit consideration. The Manager’s final decision does not address the possibility of the exception at all, leaving the Applicant and the Court to wonder why this possibility was not squarely contemplated and addressed. As such, the Manager’s decision is unreasonable.
When a client is the victim of fraud, we do our best to help. We cannot guarantee a positive result for every client. In the back of my mind, I wish the clients had simply come to us sooner so we could all avoid taking the time and energy to fix something that may have been avoidable.