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Safeguarding against immigration fraud while studying as an international student in Canada


International students in Canada are frequently thought of as simple pickings by con artists seeking to literally “cash in” on helpless victims.


This is due to con artists’ knowledge that victims will do anything to pursue their desire to study in Canada.


It’s a good idea for international students to learn some strategies for defending themselves against common scams and keeping their legal status in Canada as fraud prevention month comes to an end in 2023.


International student scam in Canada


Through websites, emails, phone calls, and social media, fraud targets numerous international students across Canada. For instance, it was reported earlier this month that a sizable number of international students from India may now be deported after getting phony post-secondary admissions letters. The students have since requested a judicial review with the federal court to challenge the removal order, some of whom have since obtained legal counsel.


Attention: As many as 700 students are reportedly involved in this controversy according to some news sources.


These kinds of incidents serve as further evidence of how crucial it is for international students studying in Canada to safeguard themselves from fraud. Scams can have negative money, social, and psychological effects.


There are four prevalent kinds of immigration fraud that target international students.

  • Fraud consultants


Unlicensed immigration representatives or fraud consultants will provide services, among others, for international students in exchange for a fee before cutting off all contact with the victim after the money has been exchanged.

  • Phishing Scams


Phishing scams frequently target international students, especially when they are first immigrating and are less acquainted with Canadian laws. In order to obtain sensitive personal information that can be used to defraud victims of money and other valuables, fraudsters will frequently interact with potential victims (by email or text) in these scams.


“The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre “received fraud and cybercrime reports totaling a staggering $530 million in victim losses” last year, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) report from February 2023. Phishing scams were among the “top three most reported types of fraud” in Canada in 2022, according to the RCMP.

  • Fake employment offer


Because they will do anything to further their education in Canada, international students frequently act with the same ambition when looking for work, making them common targets of fake employment offers.


This is particularly true for international students hoping to immigrate to Canada as permanent residents because many Canadian immigration streams either require or greatly benefit from prior Canadian work experience.


Attention: Express Entry is one scenario in which candidates for permanent residence will benefit from having Canadian job experience. Candidates are given more Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points in programs run under the Express Entry system if they have prior job experience in Canada. These extra points will raise a candidate’s odds of being selected in an Express Entry draw to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian permanent residence.

  • Accommodation


Finding affordable and comfortable accommodation is a key element for international students’ long-term success. As a result, con artists frequently take advantage of desperate international students by promising them accommodation before vanishing with the stolen funds.


The University of Waterloo is a contemporary example of this. A Ph.D. student at the institution “was stripped of her savings and is fighting poor mental health after falling victim to a rental scam,” according to a report from August 2022.


The student responded to a Facebook advertisement, paid a woman posing as a renter $2000, and was given nothing in return but a fake key to the apartment she was promised would function on move-in day.


Finding and preventing immigration fraud

  1. Check the credentials of companies and immigration representatives


There are several methods to confirm the legitimacy of an employer. Contact information being missing from an employer’s “website” may be a sign that they are not genuine.


International students can also quickly determine whether an immigration representative, such as a lawyer, is qualified to practice law in their province or territory by looking up whether they are a member of the Chambre des notaires du Québec or a Canadian provincial or territorial law society.

  1. Be cautious of unauthorized emails, calls, and posts/messages on social media.


Scammers who use email or phone to communicate frequently pose as employees of organizations like banks or even Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada. (IRCC). In order to make sure they are speaking with authorized representatives of a particular institution, people who receive incoming calls from people claiming to represent such institutions should hang up and phone the number back.


It is equally important to use care when interacting with messages or posts on social media, especially those that come from unauthorized or unverified sources. On social media platforms, fraudsters frequently assume the personas of immigration service providers or governmental organizations to con unwary users. Before disclosing any personal information or sending any money, always make sure the account and the information given are legitimate.

  1. “Too appealing to be true”


It is generally safe to assume that an offer is fraudulent if it seems ” “too appealing” to be true” (such as any “guarantee” or a promise of expedited processing).


Preserving legal status and a current study permit in Canada


Making sure that one can keep a valid study permit and legal status in Canada is a part of the endeavor to remain vigilant against fraud.


International students should take precautions to avoid engaging in illegal work and make sure that the requirements of their study permit are met in order to achieve this. For instance, in order to work in Canada, an international student must be registered full-time at a Canadian-designated learning institution (DLI). International students from Canada must demonstrate that they are “actively pursuing” their education in order to maintain a study permit. (unless exempt).



International students must also notify the appropriate government agencies of changes in personal circumstances in order to keep their legal status in Canada. Students are required to notify the appropriate governing body right away if, for instance, their study situation (program, institution of study), or job arrangement, changes.


Assistance with preserving one’s legal standing and reporting changes to circumstances


International students may profit from the assistance of a licensed Canadian immigration lawyer if they need assistance reporting changes in their personal circumstances or are having trouble maintaining their legal standing.


A knowledgeable Canadian immigration attorney can:

  • Aid international students to finish applications completely and correctly

  • Liaise with the Canadian authorities on the applicant’s behalf

  • Make sure candidates stay clear of critical blunders during the immigration procedure

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