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Asylum seekers from India swindled into paying thousands for free products and services, say health workers

Asylum seekers from India swindled into paying thousands for free products and services, say health workers

Some health workers in Montreal say they possess about there is a community of immigration fraud encouraging of us from India to pay monumental sums for paperwork that will acquire them to Canada, then thousands more in costs after they advance.

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Anne-Marie Bellemare is a social employee in Montreal’s Parc-Extension neighbourhood. She says about a of her clients bear advised her they paid tens of thousands of dollars to of us organizing their passage to Canada. (Verity Stevenson/CBC)

This memoir is in accordance with an investigation by Romain Schué for Radio-Canada’s program Enquête.

Thousands of dollars in costs nonetheless no invoices. Prices for products and services which would be in another case free. Cases dropped with out observe.

As Montreal social employee Anne-Marie Bellemare started meeting increasingly more asylum-searching for clients from northern India about 18 months ago, she began to see a caring sample. She likens it to extortion and says she believes or not it’s taking place each in their home nation and in Canada.

Bellemare, who works within the city’s Parc-Extension neighbourhood, says she saved hearing a smartly-identified memoir: of us who were promised a short route to residency in Canada, handiest to be left coping with years-lengthy waits after being relieved of their existence financial savings. 

Most regularly, she acknowledged, they were advised by handlers in India to recede an adolescent on the again of resulting from visa concerns and advised they would quickly be reunited. Then they were left with out news. 

Bellemare and assorted health workers within the city say they possess about there is a community of immigration fraud encouraging of us in India to pay monumental sums for paperwork that will acquire them to Canada, then thousands more in costs after they advance.

Bellemare acknowledged she’s viewed her swish fragment of shoddy immigration consulting. However the sudden expand in of us from Punjab who perceived to be falling sufferer to it, and the similarity of their tales, became once alarming, she acknowledged.

A Punjabi farmer, left, who says he paid someone in India $20,000 for him and his family’s visas and airplane tickets to Canada speaks to Radio-Canada’s Romain Schué. (Radio-Canada)


One man, a farmer in his thirties from Jalandhar who spoke to Radio-Canada’s Enquête investigative program, acknowledged he offered all his land in boom to pay a handler there the the same of $20,000 to possess his technique to Canada and claim asylum. 

“They dangle needs at you,” acknowledged the man, whose identification Radio-Canada agreed not to show because he fears reprisals. 

He came to Canada in 2019 with his wife and young son, paying money for quick-term customer visas and airplane tickets. Once at Montreal’s Trudeau airport, the family claimed asylum. He advised Radio-Canada their lives were in threat again in India nonetheless did not give an explanation for.

‘I did not know one thing else about Canada’

“They advised us Canada would be better for us. That it’d be more straightforward to acquire a visa for Canada,” the farmer acknowledged. “However I did not know one thing else about Canada.”

What happens once asylum seekers advance is of particular scenario to Bellemare and a likelihood of assorted health-care practitioners across Montreal, and makes them wonder how willing the Canadian authorities is to protect original arrivals from changing into prey for fraudsters. 

“I would truly like … to be assured that of us coming listed below are getting the ethical information and are not being misled or advised lies by of us who allow them to come to Canada, most regularly by having them pay monumental amounts of cash,” acknowledged Dr. Juan Carlos Chirgwin, a family physician on the Parc-Extension CLSC sanatorium.

In 2018, Chirgwin space up a screening sanatorium for asylum seekers to learn name and treat general and most regularly chronic health concerns they fight to acquire care for in assorted locations.

He says several recounted having to pay thousands in consulting costs in Montreal, most regularly for products and services equivalent to applying for a work enable, which a pair of organizations in Montreal provide for free of payment. 

They’re moreover most regularly unaware that they’ve a correct to free apt again and do not learn about PRAIDA, a authorities-funded group made up of nurses and social workers that helps asylum seekers settle in Quebec, he acknowledged.

Juan Carlos Chirgwin is a family physician in Parc-Extension. He created a screening sanatorium to present care to asylum seekers in 2018. (Louis-Marie Philidor/CBC)

“Many of them will advance on the airport in Dorval and a particular person will then raise them to Parc-Extension, with out visiting the PRAIDA offices,” Chirgwin acknowledged. 

“Most of these products and services are equipped for free by PRAIDA, nonetheless within the neighborhood, about a of the asylum seekers are having to pay high costs for this and that is in opposition to the law. Unfortunately, or not it’s one thing that is taking place.” 

Chirgwin described migrants telling him about how they were convinced by of us calling themselves immigration consultants to pay exorbitant costs for advantage getting their claims processed, yet another free provider PRAIDA helps with.

In an announcement to Radio-Canada, Federal Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino acknowledged someone “who demands rate to raise [people] to Canada or allow them to live in Canada is committing fraud.”

A supply within the Canada Border Companies and products Agency, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to communicate publicly, confirmed to Radio-Canada the agency is conscious about the maybe fraudulent practices and that investigations are underway. 

The provision acknowledged the CBSA had known a more or much less “modus operandi” that involved Indians paying tens of thousands of dollars for “packages” in conjunction with airplane tickets and tourist visas that would allow them to rotten the Atlantic. 

An agency spokesperson acknowledged they’ll also not show whether or not investigations are certainly afoot because they are handiest made public if prison charges are laid. 

The CBSA supply says the agency has catalogued a likelihood of identical and habitual tales from asylum seekers, in conjunction with being chased from a village resulting from by likelihood killing a cow, or coping with threats from political occasions or organized crime. 

“Most of these tales seem to be copied from one asylum seeker to yet another. In some circumstances, there will most in all probability be several contradictions that comprise the courtroom doubt the veracity of the info they converse,” acknowledged Stéphane Handfield, a Montreal-based fully immigration authorized skilled. 

In step with information analyzed by Enquête, asylum claims from Indians bear a high rejection payment: an average of 61 per cent weren’t permitted between 2017 and 2020, nearly double the total average of 34 per cent.

Unfounded guarantees, false hopes

Bellemare and Chirgwin say the capability of coming here on the premise of unrealistic guarantees and being inspired to recede kids on the again of can trigger serious trauma, which will be a ways more engaging for someone with diminutive resources. 

“We concept families, oldsters which would be going by downhearted for a year or two. It be a lengthy downhearted. They even bear suicidal suggestions,” Bellemare acknowledged.

Chirgwin says moreover serious health concerns, quite quite a bit of the asylum seekers he sees from India are grappling with psychological stressors and past trauma. 

“Even within the occasion that they are economic migrants,” he acknowledged, “the actual person will most in all probability be 65 years passe, handiest speaks Punjabi, speaks no English, no French, and they also inclined to be a extraordinarily onerous-working farmer in northern India. They doubtlessly had land, and my bet is that they offered all their resources.”

The federal authorities paid for commercials in Indian newspapers that warn about fraudulent costs of us could perhaps even be tricked into paying to acquire to Canada. (Radio-Canada)

Many request to secure residency and reunification with any family participants left on the again of within a year or so, Chirgwin acknowledged. 

It most regularly takes as a minimal two years to acquire a prime asylum hearing with Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board. If the preliminary claim is rejected, it goes to possess several more years to wind by the appeal assignment.

The federal Immigration Department advised Radio-Canada it has attempted to space the document straight in India, promoting in local newspapers that applying for a visa must amassed handiest cost about $100 and warning in opposition to anybody searching for to cost extra costs. 

The division hopes these efforts will advantage stem the spike in asylum seekers coming from India. 

Whereas there were 325 asylum claims from of us born in India in 2016, that number rose to almost 5,000 in 2019 for Quebec. India has now change into the No. 1 nation of foundation for asylum seekers arriving within the province, a ways sooner than Mexico, Nigeria, Colombia, Haiti or Congo. 

Chirgwin says he believes the products and services obtainable to asylum seekers in Montreal are swish and ample nonetheless that officials could perhaps comprise a better job of letting of us learn about them. 

Bellemare concurs and would truly like to concept more shady immigration consultants held accountable for their actions. 

“I would truly like Western countries to possess their accountability, because quite quite a bit of the colossal mess that goes on is resulting from colonization, so we now bear to start out our borders and welcome [people] smartly,” Bellemare acknowledged. 

“I articulate we must amassed be a ways more organized, not appropriate kind for getting of us here for the jobs we don’t bear to comprise.”

The Punjabi farmer acknowledged he ended up paying a further $5,000 in consulting costs for him and his family after their arrival in Montreal. 

He says he’s amassed thankful they made it here. The place a question to now could perhaps perhaps be whether or not or not they’ll be able to live.

Asylum seekers from India swindled into paying thousands for free products and services, say health workers