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Calgary immigration lawyer Evelyn Ackah discusses how to protect yourself from immigration fraud and scams. As a Canadian immigration lawyer for over 20 years and founder of Ackah Business Immigration Law. she emphasizes the need for ethical practices and accuracy in legal representation,
During the podcast, Evelyn Ackah urges viewers to be vigilant, prioritize honesty and seek assistance from reputable professionals while avoiding fraudulent behaviour. Here are some of the key points from the podcast:
- Canada is very concerned about immigration fraud and has designated the month of March every year to educate the public, newcomers and future immigrants on the different types of immigration fraud
- her firm's thorough review process and client involvement to ensure accuracy
- real-life examples of fraud, such as marriage fraud and scams by unscrupulous agents, paralegals and consultants
- advise on how individuals can vet immigration professionals carefully, checking references and licensing status
- warnings against guarantees of 100% success or dishonest practices, emphasizing the potential consequences and bans resulting from submitting fraudulent information
- a personal story of a client scammed by an immigration consultant and stresses the importance of due diligence.
About Evelyn Ackah
Evelyn Ackah is the Founder and Managing Lawyer at Ackah Business Immigration Law. We work with individuals and business owners from all over the world who want to cross borders seamlessly. For more information on immigration to Canada or the United States, Ask Evelyn Ackah at Ackah Business Immigration Law today at (403) 452‑9515 or email Evelyn directly at email@example.com.
The Ask Canada Immigration Lawyer Evelyn Ackah podcast by Calgary Immigration Lawyer Evelyn Ackah was named #1 Best Canada Immigration Podcast in 2022 by Feedspot.
Good day, everyone. It's Evelyn Ackah from Ackah Business Immigration Law. I hope you're well. I wanted to talk today because March is fraud prevention month when it relates to immigration fraud, and I think it's quite an important issue to raise and to discuss. So I wanted to take some time on this LinkedIn Live to talk about what is meant by immigration fraud and scams.
As a lawyer, we're obviously bound ethically to do things correctly and accurately and not misrepresent. And because of the Law Society, we have rules and regulations and we have accountability. This is not to say that there are no lawyers that might do things incorrectly, but I think that the burden is higher for legal professionals who are lawyers to make sure they're doing things correctly for their clients and also protecting their clients from any mistakes that could be seen as misrepresentation. And this is done by ensuring that your clients review everything that you produce and ensure that they approve it before it goes.
So at Ackah Business Immigration Law, what we do is once we draft and finalize drafts, they go back and forth with the client and the client has to review very carefully. We tell our clients, please review very detailed-oriented, and probably they look at drafts two or three times. When the application is perfect in their mind because of course we can't remember, we don't know where they live 10 years ago. We are relying on the client to provide us with accurate information. And so if it's accurate and they think it's all correct, then we actually have them sign a document called a Certificate of Accuracy and Completion. And they sign that because they are certifying they have read our materials that we produced on their behalf as the representatives and that it is accurate to the absolute best of their knowledge. And then we submit the application with some confidence as lawyers that our clients are telling us the truth.
At Ackah Law, if we have any doubts at all about the veracity of our client's information, we do not take the file. It's not worth it as legal professionals to take something on that doesn't smell right, doesn't feel right, that might have some inconsistencies that are not explainable. We'd rather say we can't help you than to get ourselves into a situation where we may be also assisting with some fraudulent behaviour.
So what exactly would be considered fraud in immigration law? One of the samples would be, may be of people who marriage fraud. We hear about this sometimes on the news where people get married, they think they're in love with this person, only to find out the person who they sponsored has other plans, and as soon as they arrive into Canada, they disappear. That is fraudulent behaviour. And then, of course, the person who's been scammed, they're dealing now with the obligations of what happens now because they've sponsored their spouse and they're responsible for them for up to three years if they go on any government benefits. So it's a very big deal to ensure that you know that when you're doing something for immigration purposes, it's true and accurate.
Sometimes we hear in cases in the news of other people, agents or sometimes even immigration paralegals, immigration consultants doing activity and some unscrupulous, I would say, immigration lawyers doing things that are scams, like offering jobs under the LMIA when there's no job to get the people here, then they get here and they don't get paid what they were supposed to get paid. Bad employers that don't meet their obligations under the LMIA or the immigration program and then they get put on a blacklist because that employer is no longer doing things according to the immigration standards.
Sometimes people will misrepresent their education or have fraudulent paperwork and degrees and diplomas. So as legal professionals, our job is to make sure we are confident in our clients. That's also helped by knowing your client's rules and regulations so that we can ensure that we know who we're dealing with and also making sure that we have lots of documentation so that we can confirm identification, education, things like that.
At the end of the day, Immigration Canada is responsible for ensuring that they are confident in the materials provided to them. And so what happens sometimes if immigration feels like there's something wrong, the bank statement's wrong or the education certificate may not look right, they'll refuse the application and they may also implicate the person, the applicant for a ban of up to five years or more if they're seen as submitting an application that was fraudulent, that was incorrect, and that was submitted with the intention of fraudulently entering Canada.
So in terms of how to protect yourself from immigration fraud and scams, I think the biggest thing is to make sure you know who you're working with. You need references, you need to know they have lots of happy clients. Check their Google reviews, go through their social media, ask them if they have clients that they can talk to. You need to know who you're working with and make sure you're confident, make sure they're licensed. You can check if they're an immigration consultant. You can check their body, their regulatory body to make sure they're licensed and in good standing. Same with lawyers. You can check with the Law Society and make sure they're licensed and in good standing.
These are all ways to help you protect yourself from immigration fraud and scams. And anything that doesn't smell right, doesn't feel right, don't do it. There's no way that you have to lie to obtain the goal that you want when it comes to immigration. You must ensure you're telling the truth at all times, whether it's to the border officials and whether it's to how you submit the application and the material you provide.
So I really, really urge you to think about this month of March, which is Immigration Fraud Prevention Month, and focus, if you are looking for a professional, do your due diligence. If a lawyer or an immigration consultant or an agent tells you this is absolutely 100% guaranteed to be successful, I would be cautious. No matter how successful we are at Ackah Law, we never say anything is 100%. Probably our highest is 90%, 95%. We never ever, ever tell you it's guaranteed because there are always risks and there are always possibilities that things may go wrong, and the discretion of the officer reviewing may not go in your favour. So you need to know that nobody's 100% and nobody can guarantee you success. And if you are working with somebody who is asking you to lie, asking you to fudge, asking you to do something that you know is wrong, then you need to back away because at the end of the day, you will be the one that suffers the consequences and you may be kept apart from your family or from your immigration goals for five years or more because of an innocent mistake.
We worked with one of our cases back in the day. She came to us through a contact and we did the file for free. This was one of our pro bono files because she had been scammed by an immigration consultant who took all her money, submitted an application, and unfortunately this woman wasn't very articulate and she wasn't able to read very well, and the person submitted information that was incorrect and she couldn't actually check it to make sure. And as a result, she was found to be fraudulently submitting information and then she was apart from her husband, because it was a spousal sponsorship, for five years. It was just so sad. And we were able to do the application correctly for her after the five years ban had expired and now he's here, he's now a citizen and is one of the files that I'm really proud of. But it's the fact that dealing with somebody unscrupulous impacted her and her family for five years until we were able to assist.
So please, please, please do your due diligence. If you have any questions, you can always go and check out the Law Society. You can always go check out immigration regulatory bodies and be confident that you're working with somebody that you have vetted.
I hope you have a wonderful month and I look forward to speaking with you again on the next LinkedIn Live from Ackah Business Im