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An immigration consultant in Los Angeles was arrested last month after he allegedly took money from several aspiring actors, promising them that he would help them obtain O-1 visas but never filing the paperwork or refunding their money.
One of the major problems with this story is that the actors in question – one from Ireland and two from Australia – were “aspiring actors” and newcomers to the business.
The O-1 visas are United States work visas that are highly specialized. The United States work visa for actors, the O-1B work visa, is for people who have demonstrated extraordinary skills and achievements in the motion picture industry, television industry or other arts industries. In most cases individuals like this are established award winners and celebrities, not newcomers to the business. The actors in the case did not have work waiting for them in the United States, which is another requirement of the visa.
Another troubling aspect of this case is that the immigration consultant, along with many counts of violating immigration laws and three counts of theft, is also facing a count of practicing law without a license.
While there are many good immigration consultants in both the United States and in Canada, remember that immigration consultants are not lawyers and therefore cannot offer you legal advice. For them to do so is illegal.
The immigration consultant was arrested when he was at the airport returning to Canada, as he is a Canadian national.
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