The Government of Canada’s enforcement arm, Canada Border Services Agency CBSA is investigating Carl Benito, a Filipino immigration consultant in Edmonton on allegations of immigration fraud.
The Government of Canada has taken a proactive approach in dealing with third party representatives such as recruitment agencies and immigration consultants in Canada. Benito, a former local politician in the province of Alberta calls himself a big time immigration consultant in Canada.
THREE IMMIGRATION CONSULTANT COMPANIES BEING INVESTIGATED
Benito, a Canadian citizen, runs three immigration consultant companies: Triple Maple Leaf Canada, World Immigration Group and Helping Migrants Canadian Immigration.
Unlike the Philippines, immigration consultants like Carl Benito operate with very minimal government regulation and oversight.
Search warrants were served by Canada Border Services Agency CBSA officers who allege that Benito has been providing paid services to Overseas Filipino Workers OFWs and international students from the Philippines who wanted to extend their permits to stay in Canada.
Canada Border Services Agency CBSA is also alleging that Benito was illegally recruiting undocumented workers from the Philippines.
In Canada employers must first seek approval from the Government of Canada before hiring foreign workers.
According to Canada Border Services Agency CBSA sources, who declined to be identified due to the ongoing investigation, Benito is alleged to be providing paid services to Overseas Filipino Workers OFWs in Canada whose Work Permits we’re expiring, and facilitating their applications to private Edmonton colleges.
Canada Border Services Agency CBSA’s investigations indicate that the Overseas Filipino Workers OFWs have no intention to actually attend classes at the private colleges in Edmonton, instead they are advised by Benito to work illegally without the proper documentation.
Canada Border Services Agency CBSA allege that Benito committed immigration fraud by arranging for money to be transferred to the Overseas Filipino Workers OFWs accounts as part of the applications for Study Permits, as proof of funds to support tuition fees and other costs incurred during their studies.
Canada Border Services Agency CBSA cites five instances where Benito was involved in such fund transfers in 2016.
In the course of their three year immigration fraud investigation, Canada Border Services Agency CBSA identified five instances of misrepresentation with study permit applications where Benito was involved.
The fund transfers was a delaying tactic commonly used by unscrupulous immigration consultants like Benito to extend the stay of Overseas Filipino Workers OFWs and international students from the Philippines.
Canada Border Services Agency CBSA served search warrants to Benito, seizing cash, documents and other items from both his home and his offices.
ALMOST PHP10M SIEZED FROM IMMIGRATION CONSULTANT
Among the items seized by CBSA were $255,000 in small bills, employment records, computers and mobile device as well as accounting records.
Benito served as a Member of Legislative Assembly MLA in the province of Alberta from 2008 to 2012.
Benito made a campaign promise that he would donate his entire salary as a Member of Legislative Assembly MLA to charity.
At the time Members of Legislative Assembly MLAs earned over CAD$75,000 a year.
In 2010, the province of Alberta’s Ethics Commissioner charged Benito with failure to pay over CAD$8,000 in property taxes. The charges were withdrawn after Benito made the payments.
Canada Border Services Agency CBSA conducted undercover operations at one of Benito’s public events in Edmonton, which was held at a conference room in the Ramada Edmonton South.
Canada Border Services Agency CBSA agents noted that Benito hired 16 Filipinos to work the event, some of whom were undocumented. Canada Border Services Agency CBSA agents ran license plates of Benito’s staff and found that some were Overseas Filipino Workers OFWs were without status in Canada.
As a result of the undercover investigation, Canada Border Services Agency CBSA arrested an Overseas Filipino Worker OFW who has been in Canada without status since 2015.
The Overseas Filipino Worker OFW arrested by Canada Border Services Agency CBSA first came to Canada in 2009, and has had three unsuccessful Work Permit applications.
Canada Border Services Agency CBSA Also noted that the Overseas Filipino Worker OFW was living with three other Filipinos, and that all three were paying rent to Benito who owned the house.
During their investigation, Canada Border Services Agency CBSA officers discovered that Benito advertised his immigration consultant companies over social media channels including Facebook and YouTube.
During interviews conducted by Canada Border Services Agency CBSA, one Filipino national described going to Benito’s home, which served as his office complete with secretaries.
FILIPINO WORKERS LIKELY TO BE DEPORTED IF FOUND GUILTY OF IMMIGRATION FRAUD
Benito provided paid services to Overseas Filipino Workers OFWs who were looking to stay permanently in Canada.
In once case, Benito advised an unmarried Overseas Filipino Worker OFW to get married to a Canadian citizen to be able to stay in Canada.
Immigration fraud, including marriages for convenience, is an offence in Canada, and is taken very seriously by Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada IRCC.
Canada Border Services Agency CBSA officers also considered such fund transfers as instances of immigration fraud.
Foreign nationals who wish to apply for Study Permits in Canada must provide proof of funds.
For Study Permits, applicants must demonstrate that they have at least CAD$17,000 in the bank, or the equivalent of PhP692,897.
Canada Border Services Agency CBSA officers allege that most of Benito’s clients did not have the necessary funds to apply for a Study Permit.
After further investigation, Canada Border Services Agency CBSA officers found that out of the 54 Overseas Filipino Workers OFWs Benito helped to apply for Study Permits, none attended the private colleges they were approved for.
Canada Revenue Agency CRA records did most of the Overseas Filipino Workers OFWs who were issued Study Permits worked at least 20 hours a week, as allowed by their status as International Students.
Between 2016 to 2018, Benito submitted hundreds of applications for Study Permits and Work Permits.
96 of these applications were refused due to incomplete submissions. Canada Border Services Agency CBSA alleges that Benito knowingly took advantage if the implied status given to foreign nationals whose applications were being processed.
If you or anyone you know have paid money or engaged the services of Carl Benito or any representative of Triple Maple Leaf Canada, World Immigration Group and Helping Migrants Canadian Immigration you are advised to contact the Philippine Embassy, Philippine Consulate Generals, Canada Border Services Agency CBSA and Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada IRCC for further assistance.
If you are in the Philippines, please contact the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Anti Illegal Recruitment Taskforce for further assistance.
EMBASSY OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES IN OTTAWA
30 Murray St.
Ottawa, ON K1N 5M4
Tel: (613) 233-1121
Fax: (613) 233-4165
In case of emergency: (613) 614-2846
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | email@example.com
CONSULATE GENERAL OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES IN TORONTO
7/F 160 Eglinton Ave. E.
Toronto, ON M4P 3B5
Tel: (416) 922-7181
Fax: (416) 922-2638
PHILIPPINE OVERSEAS LABOUR OFFICE (POLO) TORONTO
2/F 160 Eglinton Ave. E.
Toronto, ON M4P 3B5
Tel: (416) 975-8252
Fax: (416) 975-8277
CONSULATE GENERAL OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES IN VANCOUVER
999 Canada Place, Suite 660
Vancouver, BC V6C 3E1
Tel: (604) 685-1619 | (604) 685-7645
Fax: (604) 685-9945
CONSULATE GENERAL OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES IN CALGARY
517 10th Ave. SW., Suite 920
Calgary, AB T2R 0A8
Tel: (403) 455-9343 | (403) 455-9343 | (403) 455-9346 | (403) 455-9457 | (403) 455-9483 | (587) 577-1524
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | email@example.com
CANADA BORDER SERVICES AGENCY CBSA BORDER WATCH LINE
Tel: 1 (888) 502-9060
PHILIPPINE OVERSEAS EMPLOYMENT ADMINISTRATION ANTI ILLEGAL RECRUITMENT TASKFORCE
Tel: 722-1144 & 722-1155
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