On April 21, 2010, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney offered his appreciation to the Windsor detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (“RCMP”) for their ongoing efforts to investigate immigration fraud. The official press release is available here.
“Unscrupulous consultants heap misery upon their victims and pose a serious threat to the reputation of Canada’s immigration system,” said Minister Kenney. “All levels of government and law enforcement must work together to ensure that those who commit fraud are dealt with appropriately.”
“I commend the outstanding work of the Immigration and Passport Section of the Windsor RCMP which resulted in these charges being laid,” said the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety. “This government takes the issue of fraud very seriously and we will continue to provide law enforcement with the tools it needs to disrupt criminal activity and protect innocent victims.”
The week before, an investigation by the Immigration and Passport Section of the Windsor RCMP resulted in criminal charges against an unlicensed Ontario immigration consultant. Francesco Salvatore Burgio, 45, of Amherstburg, has been charged with eleven counts of fraud. It is alleged that the head of the firm Burgio and Associates was paid by clients to submit on their behalf appropriate applications and accompanying fees to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, though victims later discovered that no immigration applications or fees had been submitted. The RCMP has identified eleven victims but believe there may be more who have not yet come forward.
Only members of the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (“CSIC”), a provincial or territorial bar, or Quebec notaries can advise, represent or consult clients on immigration matters before the Government of Canada for a fee. Mr. Burgio was a member of CSIC until 2006.
Minister Kenney noted his intention to pursue further measures on this issue. This reflects the Government of Canada’s Speech from the Throne commitment to take steps that would shut down unscrupulous immigration consultants.
Despite the recent crackdown on the worst offenders, there are still many unscrupulous and/or incompetent, unlicensed immigration consultants operating with impunity, both in Canada and abroad. We would once again recommend that any potential applicant read our article on choosing a Canadian representative.