Douglas Todd: Fake jobs fast-track permanent residency for migrants

Hard to know full extent of problem compared to overall numbers of Permanent Residents but number of anecdotes and some high profile convictions indicate is an issue:

Canadian employers are creating fake jobs so would-be immigrants can quickly get citizenship.

Immigration “consultants” often arrange the illicit deals, which frequently result in Canadian business owners being paid to fabricate non-existent jobs.

Other times, the immigrants perform actual work, while themselves handing cash to the employer under the table to top up their own salary.

The employers, for their part, devise fraudulent pay stubs so the foreign nationals can “prove” to immigration officials they have needed skills to go to the front of the queue to become a permanent resident of Canada.

“It’s very widespread. I have met a lot of clients who tell me how this is being done underground,” says George Lee, a veteran Burnaby-based lawyer who specializes in immigration law.

Immigration department officials, lawyers, employers, prosecutors and migrants are increasingly providing accounts of how immigration consultants and companies fabricate bogus records so foreign nationals can obtain permanent resident status.

Migrants are handing company owners anywhere from $15,000 to more than $150,000 to create the counterfeit jobs, with immigration consultants pocketing large fees in the bargain.

One immigrant department report said fraud is “commonly associated” with such jobs, called “arranged employment offers.”

“There are lots of cases like this and they’ve been going on for a long time,” said Lee. “In most cases, jobs are needed to become a permanent resident, yet in many cases they are just jobs on paper.”

Both Lee and Vancouver immigration lawyer Richard Kurland have been informed by clients, who range from young international students to professionals with degrees, about different deals would-be immigrants strike with employers.

In one standard example, Lee said, a foreign student who received paycheques worth $30,000 a year for part-time work was paid $15,000 by the employer, but also secretly handed over another $15,000 in cash to his boss to prop up his declared salary.

It’s a violation of the law, say Lee and Kurland, to offer cash in exchange for a job.

CBC TV in Saskatchewan last month secretly recorded Bill Sui, of the Vancouver-based immigrant consulting company Vstar International, offering cash to a Prairie retail employer to create jobs for his clients from Mainland China.

Since the news story came out about how Vstar International promised the owner of a Fabricland outlet $15,000 to produce a false job, plus enough to pay the migrant’s salary, people in three other Saskatchewan communities have come forward with similar accounts.

Kurland provided documents in which people complain to the Immigration department about such practices.

In one redacted letter obtained under an access to information request, a Canadian provided details about how her colleague was “getting her cheques and returning cash money to her employer just to show fake employment.”

Kurland, who publishes the newsletter Lexbase, said: “My research uncovers allegations of fake jobs, examples of fake jobs, and complaints by visa officers about fake jobs. It shows that some people who can’t qualify under our rules will pay big money to get their visa illicitly.”

An Iranian-Canadian businessman in Metro Vancouver told Postmedia that each month offshore professionals offer to pay him large sums to cook up artificial jobs in Canada.

“I get this on a regular basis. I’m offered fees from $10,000 to $50,000, plus they will pay their own salaries. So I could bring employees here and have them work for free,” said the businessman, who asked to not be identified.

In a related case, he cited how three years ago an Iranian couple ago went public about paying a B.C. film company $15,000 to come to Canada for jobs that turned out to be non-existent.

The businessman, who said he does not engage in such practices, said any Canadian company with more than six employees can offer a job to a foreign national.

Many job descriptions, which are either bogus or exaggerated to make them seem more “skilled,” are facilitated through immigration consultants, some of whom are not registered, even though registration is supposed to be a requirement in Canada.

Richmond immigration consultant Xun (Sunny) Wang hauled in $10 millionover eight years by producing phoney paycheques and other documents for up to 1,200 clients in arguably the largest immigration fraud case in Canadian history.

Wang’s employees counterfeited thousands of employment documents for clients, most of whom had no real jobs in Canada.

In 2015 Wang, who was not registered as a consultant, was sentenced to seven years in jail.

Source: Douglas Todd: Fake jobs fast-track citizenship for migrants | Vancouver Sun

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About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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