Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Immigration scam promised Nepalese high-paying jobs in Alberta’s oilpatch

BY CAROL SANDERS, CANADIAN PRESS


WINNIPEG — A Canadian man from Nepal says more than 100 people from the Asian country have been financially ruined in a scheme that promised them high-paying jobs in the Alberta oilpatch.

Bradley Jacobson and Kendall Schmidt have appeared in a Winnipeg court charged with various offences under the Criminal Code and Refugee Protection Act.

Jacobson was a member of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council.

Yadu Pandey is a Nepalese-Canadian trying to help people back home look for temporary work in Canada.

He says the fraud has ruined 111 people in Nepal who paid $1,300 for jobs in the Alberta oilsands.

Pandey says the Nepalese borrowed money and sold land so they could afford to wire cash.

In Nepal, labourers make $8 a day and the oilsands jobs were a chance to work hard and earn good money, Pandey said.

“He took money from 111 people — $149,350,” Pandey alleged of Jacobson.

Jacobson’s name was in the media as he had won a business award and seemed legitimate, Pandey said. He added that the man’s company, CISI Canadian Immigration Strategies Inc., promised the Nepalese two-year labourer jobs in the oilsands paying $17.45 an hour.

Pandey alleges Jacobson also travelled to Delhi, India, with a man purporting to be with an oilsands company to arrange to get the workers, and charged the Nepalese for their expenses.

Pandey said he later contacted the oilsands company in Alberta to ask about the jobs and was told the company wasn’t hiring and had never heard of Jacobson.

Investigators allege Jacobson and Schmidt developed false businesses — North West Construction and Access Health Manitoba — and submitted fake documents to lure more than 300 foreign workers.

Jacobson faces 23 charges and Schmidt faces eight. None of the charges has been proven in court.

Pandey said his friends in Nepal are worried about their debts and have no way to pay the loans back.

The immigration consultants watchdog agency said Jacobson is no longer a member. When the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council took over its predecessor last July, it automatically absorbed all of its members, including Jacobson, said CEO Phil Mooney. The non-profit council was set up to regulate the immigration consulting profession and safeguard consumer interests.

When it received several complaints about Jacobson, an investigation was launched and Jacobson refused to pay his dues, Mooney said. He was stripped of his membership in December and his name was removed from their website, Mooney said.

The council’s website is updated promptly and is still the best way to make sure an immigration consultant is legitimate, he said.

(Winnipeg Free Press)

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