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IRCC increasing anti-fraud efforts in Philippines

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is increasing its resources in its Manila office to combat fraudulent activities as IRCC Minister Marco Mendicino has identified the Philippines as one of three countries where there is rampant immigration fraud.

The other two countries identified are India and China.

Peter Liang, Communications Advisor, IRCC Communications, said IRCC is also working on risk assessment efforts, adding that it “has worked with fellow Migration Five (M5) countries UK, U.S., Australia and New Zealand on coordinated social media campaigns to address fraud.”

IRCC anti-fraud activities in the Philippines also included outreach sessions to engage applicants and make them aware of their rights and protect themselves from fraud, Liang added.

Similarly, the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC), in coordination with the High Commission of Canada, IRCC in India, held Facebook Live events on anti-fraud awareness last March in observance of Fraud Prevention Month.

Liang said the Philippines has not seen the same surge in applications as India which precipitated the issues there.

Liang reiterated that the government’s support for immigration legal service providers is demonstrated by the CAD $51.9 million invested by the federal government to protect Canadians and new comers from unscrupulous immigration consultants.

“This investment will increase investigations and enforcement, expand public awareness and strengthen the oversight of consultants,” he explained adding that the establishment of the new, stronger and professional regulator, the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (College), will have the power and tools for vigorous oversight and investigations.

Under Section 91 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, only members in good standing of a Canadian law society (lawyers and paralegals); the Chambre des notaires du Quebec (https://www.cnq.org/en/) and ICCRC (http://stage.iccrc-crcic.ca/find-a-professional-frame/) may represent or advice immigration applicants for a fee at any stage of an application or proceeding.

Reports of immigration fraud actors targeting Filipino immigration applicants include illegal recruitment agencies, education agencies and education advisors who are not Regulated International Student Immigration Advisors (RISIA). It is often difficult to pin down these companies because they have legal presences in the countries where they operate, and are outside Canada’s purview.

Canadians and new comers need to be vigilant and informed to avoid becoming victims of immigration fraud.*Odette Montelibano, RCIC [email protected]

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