By Kameel Nasrawi: Having fled their country because of the war to save their lives and secure their children’s future, The Syrians had not known that their nationality, let many of them in the grip of other kind of warmongers, living in Canada, and other countries, and being subjected to the bitter of losing their money
and dreams, even more losing their family and children for some of them.
The war horrors, which Syrians have escaped it’s hell, were exploited by the “Immigration Consultants”, by knowing very well that Syrians, wherever they go or the country they were, they would go the extra mile for the dream of the asylum to Canada. The result was the loss of money and dreams, and the waste of time, after the rejection of their applications by the Canadian Immigration Ministry for reasons, which are unrelated to their ineligibility, or fulfilling the legal conditions of the asylum, but because of the organized frauds, which has been planned by the “Immigration Consultant” and so called “Charities”, which does not meet the minimum requirement for the purpose, for which they were founded and named after.
“The Migrant” newspaper had reached out to dozens of families, whose applications have recently been rejected by the Canadian Immigration Ministry. And have been briefed on many contracts between immigration consultant offices and these families. And have been briefed on many contracts between immigration consultant offices and these families. And how much in fees were paid to them, which are the amounts between 7500 and up to more than 15,000 dollars per request. In view of this, we can easily figure out that an Immigration consultant’s office, based in Ottawa and a charity organization in the same place, as well as other office in Mississauga and other charity have involved in submitting hundreds applications, their actual fees were only millions of dollars, paid for by those who are eligible to be a refugee, and ended up in the pockets of those who contributed in depriving them of this right.
The trauma of the Immigration Ministry’s rejection of hundreds of families’ applications has a fatal blow to some of them. Some suffered a heart attack as a result of losing money and hope, some have suffered from chronic diseases such as diabetes, some separated from their wives to be without money, family, and children, and some of them still gravely suffering to retrieve the guarantee, which isn’t the small amount of money, sometimes it is up to 30 thousand dollars according to the family members’ size.
How it all began?
In 2016, the Canadian Ministry of Immigration made a decision, that exempting the Syrians from the requirement to get a registration paper at United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR), in order to facilitate the process of asylum application in Canada. Some immigration consultants have exploited this decision and begun targeting Syrian families, who are residents the Arab Gulf countries, by paid advertisements promoting their services of facilitating immigration process to Canada, in Facebook and social media. Others used their contacts in Canad to recommend a credible immigration consultants’ offices, to begin the process of submitting special or five-years’ guarantee’s applications.
Muneer (pseudonym): “Dealing with one of these offices, I’ve been required to pay a fee up to $ 8,000, $ 1500 to be paid upon signature of the contract, $ 5,000 upon receiving the “G Number”, indicating the official receipt of the application by the Ministry of Immigration, $ 1,500 upon the interview with the Canadian embassy. As a result of the high demand from the Syrians for guarantee applications, the Office raised its fees to $ 10,00”.
He added: “It was not only that, but we have forced to pay what the office called a “donation”, to non-profit association, which is undertaking the following up our file and submitting the settlement plan to the Ministry of Immigration, at a sum of 2,000 dollars, may increase, according to the family members’ size, in that way, a family of husband, wife and two children have to pay $ 4,000 as a donation to the association”.
In reply to the question of why he had agreed to sign a contract with an immigration consultant, in which there are all these fees and “donations: “There was no other choice, either accept the offered contract without any objections or reject the conclusion of the contract as a whole. There was no stage of negotiations of contract clarification or improve the terms related to us. The contract and the most of its items has been pre-formed by the immigration consultant for his own interest not ours”.
Some Syrian families who recently settled in Canada, used an immigration consultant to facilitate the process of submitting the application of one of their family members, but did not know that the guarantee applications, which is in high demand with Syrians, required to be done through officially recognized non-profit associations, which have an agreement with the Ministry of Immigration, known as (Sponsorship Agreement Holders), and entitled to provide a clear and formal “Settlement Plan”, in which explain how this associations can help in settling of the new refugees, ensure their residence requirements, starting with pick them up at the airport to getting the necessary official papers, take care of the children’s school enrolment, oversee the monthly transfer of the bond to each refugee in addition to the necessary services needed by each new immigrant.
“Collusion between the consultant and a charity association, sharing the money”
Some of these immigration consultants traveled to the Arab Gulf countries, where they signed contracts with Syrian families there. Then submitting hundreds of applications to the Ministry of Immigration, whose costs were paid by the concerned Syrian families. Most of these applications were transmitted to charities. Some of these charities, are accredited by the Ministry of Immigration, but can’t provide a clearly defined “Settlement Plan” for tens or even hundreds of families to be received by Canada, others are not accredited, having no sufficient experience to provide a plan, or escaped providing it, because they are indifferent to following up on the issue with the Ministry of Immigration.
Muneer asserts that there is a collusion, a sharing for the money, between the immigration consultant, who he dealt with and the charity, which consultant had transferred his application and hundreds of others’ applications to it. Our contract with the consultant included finding an organization or association that would guarantee our requests, and due to the big number of applications submitted through his office, no charities or organization can do it alone. In 2016 a person was persuaded to set up an association, and he has taken a share of the money he collected from us, this association has no experience dealing with the refugee issues, there are enough proofs of that”. Adding “The Ministry of Immigration rejection, was due to the fact that the ministry was not convinced of the credibility of this association and its ability to provide a settlement plan for hundreds of families, which large organizations are incapable to do, so how to do a hastily founded association!! If would this association have provided a clear settlement plan, we would have been now in Canada, but they are caring only for getting their fees, doesn’t mean to them if our applications were rejected”.
Another immigration consultant in the city of Mississauga received dozens of files, all of which were rejected for the same reason, which is the inability of the association, which the applications were turned to, to implement its obligations to submit a “Settlement Plan” to the Ministry of Immigration The fees of the consultant which exceeded hundreds of thousands of dollars, were collected fully from these families, whose all applications have rejected.
Said one of the specialist in asylum and immigration issues: “Charities in Canada are two types: a type recognized by the state and an unrecognized type. Any charity is only been recognized by Canada after its establishment and monitoring its activity for three years. Accordingly the recognized charities submitted asylum applications for several families and brought them to the country under the law, because they are originally under the state supervision, and they have a known good reputation. That leaves the hastily formed associations, consisting of two or more people, and don’t know anything about asylum issues.
Adding: “The Applications were filled inaccurately and the concerned immigration consultants were not reviewing applications before they were submitted and deliberately ignored to not informing the applicant about all the legal conditions of asylum program, in addition of placing hidden conditions in the contracts provide that no refund would be made if the request was denied”.
“Ahmad”, one of those whose applications were rejected, is agreeing the above, saying: “The problem lies not within the transfer of hundreds of guarantee applications to relatively small and unqualified associations, but the deliberate concealment by the immigration consultant of the important information about the guarantee program, its phases and details, which is against the law. We paid a lot of money to have the legal and real advice about the guarantee program, but he provided us with misleading information, and told us that once the “G Number” was obtained from the Immigration Ministry, means that the application was accepted and the rest of the proceedings is a routine, aiming to get the second payment of his fees. He never mentioned to us that the applications can be rejected because of the association or for any other reason”.
Not only did the loss of hundreds of families to their money and dream of moving on to Canada, but exceeded that to left a health, psychological, and social impacts, and caused the disintegration of entire families. Said “Hoda”: “We waited for years, lost our money, and my husband had a heart attack because of our application’s rejection. Canada to us: me, my husband, and my children, were a dream and turned into a nightmare. It is true, we are living in Saudi Arabia, but the future of the family is not guaranteed at all, especially in the light of the restrictions that the Syrians suffer everywhere. If a decision is made to deport us, where should we go?”.
The tragedy of these families is not over yet. “The Migrant” had listened to an audio record, in which one of these charities’ chairman is threatening dozens of families not to return the guarantees, which was paid by each one of these families unless they undertook not to sue his charity in Canada! There are families whose guarantee money was refunded, and other families are still subject to extortion and waiting.
“Muneer” said: “I do not like to reveal myself that I had fallen victim, but I will stress through you that we will stand for our rights and will not keep silent about the physical and psychological damage we have been subjected to… We believe in the Canadian justice system and that we have rights and to be given priority to be admitted as refugees, so we will not keep silent “.
It is so painful to the point of make you burst into tears, to watch how are Canadians opening their hearts to us and make sure to start our lives easily here. When the “Heroes” of frauds are the immigration consultants and the charities’ chairmen, who are of Arab origin and from our compatriots. Who does get a career from killing the war victims’ hopes, and taking advantage of the pain and suffer of the victims to live a wealthy life.
Note: The names used in this article are false due to their personal desire,and because they do not want for this investigation to affect the possibility of getting refunded and collecting their rights from immigration consultants and Charities that had sponsored their requests. “The Migrant” has all the supporting documents and recordings for the content above.