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According to the Toronto Police Service and immigration officials, students from China are winding up in jail because they overstayed their time in Canada. The overstay in Canada was, allegedly, under the false pretense that “fake” immigration consultants were helping them sort out their immigration issues.
These immigration consultants have claimed to be interpreters with the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) as well as told immigrants they have special contacts at immigration offices in the city that could help them out.
The scammers contacted York University students through a Chinese-language website. One student was a failed refugee claimant who was ordered to leave Canada in 2007 but stayed, and a warrant was issued for her arrest. The student had worked at a downtown Tim Hortons while living in Toronto and handed all of her money over to the criminals, about $18,000. Once the money ran out, the fake immigration consultants allegedly sent her an e-mail address of a border official they said would take on her case, but instead arrested her.
After she was arrested, she called her immigration consultants still believing they were legitimate and was told it would cost $10,000 to get her out of jail. Both the student and her new, actually legitimate immigration consultant Roy Kellogg say that there are many other Chinese victims living in Toronto that have been scammed by the criminals, and as soon as they can’t pay anymore the criminals get them deported.
Currently we are in the midst of a grey area when determining whether an immigration consultant is legitimate. Earlier this year many shady consultants were prosecuted for defrauding immigrants, and some were even members of the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants.
As we have written many times in the past, when it comes to immigration consultants, “buyer beware”.
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