Immigration: Avoid these scams

Immigration: Avoid these scams

Luckily, it can be easy to spot a scam if you know what to look for.

Immigration: Avoid these scams

With global migration on the rise, many individuals are getting caught up in Canadian immigration scams which are costing them thousands of dollars.

Paying high fees for an assessment of your eligibility to immigrate to Canada

While it is common to charge for your time as an immigration consultant or lawyer, paying between $500 and $800 for an assessment of your eligibility to immigrate to Canada is not common. These assessments are just to review your background and then let you know if you can apply or not.

They do not actually do your application for you. Many companies offer free assessments as does the Canadian government’s website. Once you know that you are eligible to apply then you can look at obtaining paid assistance or advice if you need it.

Paying for a service which gives no actual assistance

Some companies say that they can assist you with your application for a fee. However, if you read the fine print of their agreements all you are paying for is directions to the Canadian government’s website and the company that you are paying does no actual work for you.

You are responsible for compiling and submitting your own application with no actual assistance. It is extremely important to always read through any agreement before signing on as a client or making any payments. It is your responsibility to know what you are signing on for. 

Not knowing the full costs

Some companies will ask for your credit card details over the phone to charge you for your first payment without even speaking to a registered consultant or lawyer to confirm you are eligible to apply. The will usually do so without explaining what future payments there will be or what your total costs will be at the end of the process. This may include language tests, educational assessments, government fees and medical examination fees.

They may also fail to explain that your credit card will be automatically charged even if you do not want to continue with the process. Never give your credit card details out until you have reviewed their written terms and agreements carefully to know what you are signing up for.

Not knowing what you are applying for

Some companies will call you after you have completed an assessment or survey and tell you that you are an excellent candidate and that you will be in Canada in no time, all you need to do is give them your credit card details to get started. In these cases, always ask what type of application they will be doing for you and then do some research on your own through the Canadian government’s website to ensure that you really do meet the criteria to apply.

Guaranteed job offers

Some companies state that they can guarantee you a job offer if you pay them. You need to be extremely careful with these companies as no one can guarantee you a work permit. Many individuals have received job offers from Canadian companies, but many do not realize that after the offer they still need to obtain a labour market impact assessment and then work permit.

Many employers are also not aware of this or the time lines involved in obtaining a labour market impact assessment or work permit. Both the labour market impact assessment and the work permit are at the discretion of the Canadian government. This means that they can be refused and that there is no guarantee of you obtaining a work permit.

If you do choose to use an authorized representative to assist you with your application keep in mind that only the following individuals are legally allowed to assist you with your application or on choosing an immigration program for a fee:

  • Lawyers and paralegals who are members in good standing of a Canadian provincial or territorial law society (Does not include South African Lawyers or paralegals)
  • Notaries who are members in good standing of the Chambre des notaires du Québec and (Does not include South African Notaries)
  • Immigration consultants who are members in good standing of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC)

When anyone assesses you and qualifies you for Canadian Immigration or gives you paid advice ensure they are one of the individuals listed above and not a case worker or salesperson.

If you are on the phone with someone who is telling you that you qualify for Canadian immigration, ask him or her if they are a salesperson or if they fall into one of the three authorized classifications above. If they say that they do, ask for their registration number and verify it on the official website for that organization before making any payments.

You can find out if the person you are dealing with falls under one of the categories by checking with their regulatory board in Canada directly. The regulatory board will be able to confirm their registration. The Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) provides the list of all of their members on their website where you can search by name, location, company name, and a variety of other criteria: 

If the individual is a member of a Canadian law society you can check their status here.

It can sometimes be tempting to get caught up in the excitement of moving abroad, but always remember to stop and ask the relevant questions and read through all documents you are provided with before proceeding.

Deanne Acres-Lans is a Regulated Canadian Immigration consultant based in Johannesburg, South Africa who has helped thousands of individuals with their Canadian immigration journey. Deanne’s company Canada Abroad provides full immigration services for all visa programs. Tel +27(0)14 941 0802 email