Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced that March 2018 is fraud prevention month and Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen has announced the government will be launching programs and initiatives during the month to help combat all kinds of fraud, including that which targets the government and Canadian newcomers.
What is Fraud?
Fraud involves deception or lies, generally with the goal of securing a gain. In immigration, fraud can take many forms:
- An illegal representative may secure large amounts of money from newcomers and promise to get certain immigration outcomes, even though no such guarantees are possible.
- Newcomers may be convinced to submit falsified or false statements.
- Hopefuls may be convinced to cross the border illegally.
- Newly arrived immigrants may get calls or letters, asking for sums of money. Some of these communications are threatening, claim to be from immigration agents, and suggest non-compliance will result in arrest or even jail time.
- Immigration hopefuls may be asked for money in exchange for help scammers insist no one else can offer.
- Newcomers may decide to get married to someone they do not know in exchange for immigration status.
Protecting Yourself from Fraud
You can protect yourself this month and every month when you:
- Get to know the immigration process. Understand the process so you can recognize grandiose claims.
- Be careful who gets your personal information. Only submit personal information and copies of your documents to legitimate representatives and immigration attorneys.
- Use the resources offered by the Government of Canada. The government has videos to help you stamp out fraud as well as a website with useful tips.
- Never submit falsified documents or allow someone to do so on your behalf. You will be held legally responsible and you could find yourself facing legal problems. It’s not worth it, especially since it can permanently affect your ability to immigrate to Canada.
- Ask yourself “Is this too good to be true?” If someone is promising you instant permanent residence or promises to get you citizenship even though you do not qualify for entry to Canada, be careful. Usually, something too good to be true is not true at all.
- Keep in mind that no one can guarantee an immigration outcome. Many factors go into a decision, so even an experienced immigration attorney cannot be 100% sure how an application will work out.
- If you get a suspicious call, hang up and contact immigration authorities directly. Take down the name of the person calling and then look up the name of the agency or police department they claim to be calling from online or in a phone book. Call the number you look up yourself to confirm whether the call is legitimate.
- If you get a suspicious email or letter, do not reply. Take the letter to a legitimate representative or attorney to ensure it is real and requires a response.
Unfortunately, people who are new to Canada and who are still learning the language and legal system, especially, are targets for fraudsters. Staying safe starts with you. If you’d like to learn more about immigration so you are more prepared to protect yourself, Immigration Direct has a free blog and knowledge base where you can get the facts about coming to Canada.