March is Fraud Prevention Month in Canada. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) works to raise awareness about the different types of immigration fraud, how to recognize scams and fraudulent websites, how to properly choose an immigration or citizenship lawyer, and how to report fraud.
Every year, millions of people apply to visit or immigrate to Canada to enjoy the many opportunities that our country has to offer.
The vast majority of these applicants are genuine and wish to come to Canada in good faith. Unfortunately, there are some dishonest people who prey on these individuals, and the Government of Canada is committed to preventing applicants from becoming victims of fraud.
It’s important to remember that no one can promise your application will be given special treatment or guarantee that it will be approved. All applications are assessed fairly and on the same merit.
- The Honourable Marco E.L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P.,
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Immigration Fraud Prevention
IRCC identifies four types of immigration fraud:
1. Document Fraud
It’s a serious crime to lie or to send false information or documents to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). This is a type of immigration fraud called “misrepresentation.”
What is considered misrepresentation? It's important that you understand that when you complete any application forms or provide information to the Canadian government, you must ensure that you are not misrepresenting. Whether it's intentional or unintentional you are responsible if there are errors in your application. You are the person who will be at risk if you unintentionally or intentionally misrepresent.
The fines and penalties for misrepresentation can be serious: it can be a ban of five years where you cannot come to Canada or apply for anything, whether it's a visitor, worker or permanent residence, and face a $100,000 fine or imprisonment.
2. Marriage Fraud
It is a crime for a foreign national to enter into a false marriage and marry a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for the purpose of entering or working in Canada. IRCC considers marriage fraud and sham marriages, including a marriage of convenience, a serious issue and Canadian citizens or permanent residents who engage in marriage fraud for the purpose of immigration may be charged with a crime.
3. Adoption Fraud
Adopting a child from overseas is a wonderful way to grow your family but the immigration laws can be very confusing. Adoption fraud is costly and can be heartbreaking. When considering an intercountry adoption, IRCC advises:
Although the vast majority of adoptions progress smoothly, adoptive parents should use caution throughout the process.
You should contact the government of the province or territory you live in to obtain the most up-to-date information about the adoption process, and to ensure the adoption meets all their requirements.
To avoid unnecessary expense and disappointment, adoptive parents shouldn’t plan to return to Canada with the adopted child until they know for certain all immigration or citizenship requirements have been met.
4. Internet, Email and Phone Scams
International students have recently been the target of phone scams where the caller identifies themself as an IRCC officer and demands money in order to avoid deportation. IRCC does not request payment of fees by telephone.
IRCC advises that if it is too good to be true, it probably is. Immigration scams include:
- identity theft
- unlicensed and unregulated immigration consultants, aka ghost consultants
- theft from your bank account or credit card and
- computer viruses sent via email
- fake immigration websites
- promises of a job
Canada immigration lawyer Evelyn Ackah was interviewed about ghost consultants and immigration fraud by Calgary EyeOpener.
To report immigration fraud, call the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Border Watch Toll-Free Line at 1-888-502-9060. Learn more about how to protect yourself from immigration fraud: Protect yourself: detecting, avoiding and reporting immigration scam.
How to Hire an Immigration Lawyer
Immigration law is becoming more complex and challenging every day. Immigration applications can be refused due to minor oversights and omissions that can delay or negatively impact your business or your family reunification plans. By not using a lawyer you can be putting your business and your family at risk. Ackah Business Immigration Law can help you understand your rights and understand Canadian immigration policies as they apply to your unique circumstances.