Immigration fraud comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s sadly a profitable ‘business’ that preys on the desperation of people looking for better lives abroad. If you’re interested in moving to Canada then you should arm yourself with the knowledge to easily detect scams and how to know whether your immigration agency is fake or real. Immigration fraud does not exclusively target people from outside of Canada, marriage fraud is a real thing that Canadian permanent residents and citizens should be wary of.
In this blog, we look at the popular types of immigration fraud and Canadian visa scams out in the world today and how to avoid them with our handy tips.
Popular Types of Immigration Fraud to Avoid
1. Marriage Fraud
It’s illegal to marry someone just to gain entry into a country. As a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you can sponsor your common-law partner (boyfriend or girlfriend) to immigrate to Canada. However, think carefully about this decision especially if it's someone whom you just met over the internet and know little about it. We suggest you swipe left. Or instead, let them visit you first with a temporary visa to get to know them better. Heed with extreme caution if they want to get married immediately as this can be a clear sign of immigration fraud.
What happens if you get a divorce or your relationship ends? You’ll still be financially responsible for your sponsored spouse for the next 3 years and if they use any social services you’ll need to pay back their debt to the Canadian government.
There is also another form of immigration fraud termed ‘marriage of convenience.’ This is when both parties consciously form an agreement to deceive the IRCC. Usually, the sponsor is offered a lot of money or rewards to illegally sponsor a foreign national. Don’t be too quick to action because immigration officers are trained to detect marriage fraud and for that, you could face a criminal charge. What’s more, applicants can be banned to enter Canada for 5 years.
2. Internet, Email and Telephone Scams
Internet, email, and telephone scams are the most common types of Canadian visa scams and immigration fraud known today. The internet exposes thousands of hopefuls who are interested in better lives abroad to immigration scams in various forms. These include fake news articles, unsolicited emails with spam links, SMSes that claim you won a visa and phone calls from fake immigration consultants. The golden rule is if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Immigration con artists pose as certified immigration consultants and some even go as far as to create fake immigration agencies online. Here are three ways to differentiate between a real or fake immigration agency and consultant.
1. “We Can Guarantee Your Visa”
No legitimate immigration agency can guarantee your visa. Simply because it’s not up to them whether your visa gets approved or denied. Only the Canadian government has that authority. What they can do, however, is assist you with choosing the right visa program, handle your paperwork, and ensure that your application is optimized to stand the best possible chance of success.
2. Verify Your Consultants Registration Number
Only authorized immigration consultants may legally assist clients with their visa and immigration applications to Canada. Before you pay for the services of an immigration consultant, verify their registration number on the ICCRC website for yourself. Watch our video to see how easily it's done. You can take it further and check out CanadianVisaReview.com. They are a review company that rates immigration agencies to help you make an informed choice.
3. Fake Prizes and Easy Jobs
If you get a phone call or text message that says you won a visa or something equally as enticing, but you did not enter a contest, it is probably a scam. The link in the message will direct you to a form that asks you to enter personal details. Don’t reply at all even if it tells you to text “STOP” or “NO”. Another red flag to watch out for is the notion of ‘buying a job’ in Canada. Many fake immigration and recruitment agencies may promise you a job at a price. The job won’t be real and you’ll lose your money. Instead, opt to find a job in Canada through legitimate channels.
3. COVID - 19 Fraud
Leave it up to fraudsters and scammers to never let a good opportunity go to waste. Scammers are taking advantage of the increase in COVID‑19 communications by disguising their scams as legitimate messages about the virus. These scamps appear in the form of travel or visa announcements that require you to perform urgent actions such as paying for additional medical fees before you can get your visa or enter Canada.
Most governments the world over have halted the processing of certain visa types. The due dates for many Canadian visa programs have been extended. The best way to protect yourself from falling for clever COVID-19 scams is to educate yourself by consulting with your immigration consultant or going directly to the official government website for information.
Canadian Immigration the Safe and Easy Way
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Simply, fill in the form below to start your journey the right way.