Unlicensed Ontario Immigration Consultant cheats Immigrants out of up to $100,000

Immigration Consultant steals immigrants’ money

In our ongoing effort to warn and educate the public about unlicensed and unethical immigration representatives, below is the latest story of more victims of unscrupulous consultants taking advantage of intending immigrants to Canada.

A recent situation in Windsor saw an Immigration Consultant Francesco Salvatore (Sam) Burgio of Amherstburg, Ontario who had his membership with Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants revoked back in 2006, allegedly charging between $2,000 and $100,000 to submit immigration applications to Citizenship and Immigration Canada. So far, the RCMP has identified eleven victims of just this one consultant and his firm.

Immigration consultants are regulated by the CSIC. However, Canada has recently seen many instances of immigration consultants not abiding by the rules or working outside of regulation bodies, which can be dangerous and very costly for immigrants.  There are only 1,600 certified immigration consultants in the country and over 200,000 immigrants coming to Canada annually.

The RCMP has decided to crack down, and Canadian Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney has expressed his appreciation to those investigating these consultants.

“Unscrupulous consultants heap misery upon their victims and pose a serious threat to the reputation of Canada’s immigration system,” said Minister Kenney in a press release at the end of April. “All levels of government and law enforcement must work together to ensure that those who commit fraud are dealt with appropriately

Similar problems have been seen in the United States, where immigration consultants have been cheating immigrants, mostly from Haiti after the earthquake, by charging them for services they aren’t even qualified to offer. Temporary protected status was offered to those from Haiti who were living in the United States illegally when the massive earthquake struck, but it’s estimated that ten per cent of these temporary protected status applications that are received by the United States government are rejected because of errors made by the consultants on the immigrant’s behalf.

When these unregulated consultants make mistakes or something goes wrong, they simply disappear and leave all of the problems (and costs) with the immigrant.

Not only are these immigrants potentially wasting their life savings, but their chances at becoming permanent residents are pretty much destroyed because of either applications that are erroneous or are not even being submitted.

We therefore urge people to proceed with caution when hiring an immigration representative. If you choose an immigration consultant, ask for references and ask to see their CSIC License.  The same goes for hiring an immigration lawyer: Their provincial license and references are the way to go.

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Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

  • Unfortunately this is not the case. “Ghosts” is a term for people posing as consultants usually without Canadian citizenship or permanent residence. They are often located overseas. As I stated in my blog, applicants should always ask to see a consultant’s license before hiring them. I do not see how this “mixes” things up. There are many good, honest consultants.

  • Peter

    If he was not a member of the CSIC, he cannot be called an Immigration Consultant. He is merely a ghost, stop calling “Ghosts” Immigration consultants, they are not, you are mixing everything up and giving a bad reputation to the real honest consultants. You can call them fraudster not consultants.

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