The internet’s power is being progressively used by Canada’s immigration system to streamline numerous aspects of the immigrant experience. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) began shifting to 100% digital applications for all permanent residency programmes around the end of 2022.
In addition, IRCC has also developed and released an online portal with the aim of enabling permanent residence applicants in Canada to conclude their procedure and acquire their PRs as part of the digital transformation of Canadian immigration.
In accordance with information from a January 2022 press release, between June and December 2021, 225,000 permanent residents used this portal. Without a doubt, Canadian immigration is going digital in more ways than before. This change hasn’t been altogether positive, though, as it might expose more potential Canadian immigrants to fraud and swindles carried out by phoney immigration websites.
In light of this and in honour of March being IRCC’s fraud prevention month, the Canadian government has provided the following guidelines for identifying potential scams on Canadian immigration websites:
- A spam email contained an advertisement for the website
It is safe to infer that the website is probably a fraud if the link to an immigration website comes from an email that the email receiver did not request from a stranger.
- When it doesn’t appear like the Canadian government built the webpage
Websites that imitate properties owned by the Government of Canada but lack these two elements should not be trusted.
- They contain material in both English and French, the two official languages of Canada.
- They have a URL that ends in “gc.ca” or “Canada.ca.”
- If it makes implausible offers on guaranteed immigration
Websites that make such positive statements, guarantee visitors a well-paying job after they arrive in Canada, or advocate faster application processing should not be trusted by applicants.
- To access the forms and guides, the website requests money
Payment is only necessary to complete applications for Canadian immigration, according to the IRCC. On the IRCC website, forms, instructions, and other supplemental information are available without charge.
- When it requires financial details, a deposit request to the application procedure
Any website that asks for sensitive data up front—before the application process—should be regarded as unreliable. Examples include financial information and a Social Insurance Number (SIN).
It is Missing Contact Information and the Representative’s Credentials
Users should presume that the service provider is unlicensed and hence unreliable if the website lists the name of an immigration consultant, lawyer, representative, or firm but does not include their credentials.