Fake immigration lawyers targeting vulnerable newcomers in Montreal

Sathia Kumar

Fake immigration lawyers targeting vulnerable newcomers in Montreal

The Bar of Montreal is raising awareness of a concerning trend: a dramatic increase in fake immigration lawyers targeting newcomers in the city. These fraudsters exploit vulnerable individuals, often charging exorbitant fees for subpar or nonexistent services. Some even abandon their victims altogether.

The Bar’s president, David Ettedgui, highlights the diverse range of victims, from wealthy investors to asylum seekers. They all share the common goal of building a new life in Canada, making them susceptible to these scams.

To combat this issue, the Bar launched a public awareness campaign. It encourages individuals to verify the credentials of their immigration lawyers through the Bar of Quebec’s online registry. The campaign also provides red flags to watch out for, such as informal meetings, unrealistic promises, and lack of formal contracts.

This surge in fake lawyer complaints, tripling from 2018 to 2022, necessitates immediate action. While official reports likely underestimate the true scope of the problem, the Bar stresses the potential consequences for victims. Entrusting your immigration case to a fake lawyer can jeopardize your entire settlement process in Canada.

Rose Ndjel, director of a Montreal immigrant service center, has witnessed these consequences firsthand. She recounted cases of individuals receiving deportation orders after being misled by fake lawyers. Fear of jeopardizing their immigration status often discourages victims from filing official complaints.

Ndjel commends the Bar’s initiative and emphasizes the need for sustained efforts to eradicate this issue. She encourages individuals to come forward and report these scams, paving the way for holding perpetrators accountable.

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