Immigration Fraud and Scams

We are aware of an increase in internet, email, and telephone immigration scams. These scams take advantage of you wanting to come to Canada, and they offer ‘quick and easy’ or ‘guaranteed’ ways to immigrate.

Remember that no one can guarantee you a job, a provincial nomination, or immigration to Canada. Only BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) staff can issue a provincial nomination, and only immigration officers in Canada, at Canadian embassies, high commissions and consulates can decide to issue a visa.
 

What you should know / Important information

  • you don’t need a representative to apply for immigration. If you choose to have a representative, go to our Using a Representative page first
  • you will find free forms and guides for all our services here on our website
  • registration to the BC PNP Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC categories is free
  • the application fee for BC PNP Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC categories can be found here
  • fees for BC PNP Entrepreneur Immigration categories are found here

What kinds of scams should I know about?

Getting a ‘nomination’, ‘invitation’, or ‘selection’ from the ‘Canada Immigration and Resettlement Bureau’ or the ‘Canada Provincial Nomination Program’

In this scam, targets receive an email about the ‘Canada Resettlement Provincial Nomination Program’ or the ‘Canada Provincial Nomination Program’. The ‘nominee’ is informed that they have been chosen to settle in Canada as a result of an electronic ballot system.

Be warned that these emails look very formal and even use the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC; formerly Citizenship and Immigration Canada, CIC) office address. They even provide you with a ‘nomination code’ and end with a ‘Legal Notice’.

At the end of the email, you are asked to ‘please confirm receipt of this notification by responding immediately’. They will then send you a second email with more information, promises of lots of benefits, and an attached form to complete and send back, along with a scan of your passport and photos. Many victims have lost money or have had their identity stolen because of these scams.

Please note that this website and our BCPNP Online system is the only official place to apply for an ITA  from the BC PNP.


A ‘guaranteed visa’ from an immigration company or agency

These can be agencies or ‘immigration representatives’ who will handle your application for a large sum of money (they may call it an application fee, handling fee, security deposit, or agency fee). While there are legitimate immigration representatives, you should beware of those who seem to be more interested in your money (and ask for it in advance).

Be aware that:
  • signs of a scam include the use of words like ‘guaranteed visa’, ‘guaranteed invitation’, as well as charging extremely high fees
  • fees for provincial nominee programs and IRCC are posted on official websites
  • you can view and download all BC PNP forms, guides and other files for free on our website; and all of IRCC’s forms and guides are also free from their site
  • you don’t need a representative to apply for immigration. If you choose to have a representative, go to our Using a Representative page first
  • you can look up immigration consultants who are full members in good standing of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council, or lawyers who are members in good standing of the Law Society of BC or another Canadian Law Society, the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, or the Chambre des notaires du Quebec

Fake job offers, LMIAs, or scholarships

There are many kinds of scams. Usually, these scams start with emails or ads (online or print) with the heading: ‘Guaranteed visas and jobs in Canada’, and they guarantee work visas and jobs in exchange for thousands of dollars in ‘processing fees’ or ‘security deposits’.

Some ads or emails promise wages to workers in specific jobs that add up to thousands of dollars, or job offers from Canadian companies, or guaranteed Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs). Others offer study visas and scholarships.

Be aware that:
  • nobody can guarantee you a visa, a job, an LMIA, or a scholarship in Canada
  • it is illegal to ask for money in exchange for a job
  • no outside private company or agency has special agreements with the Canadian government or any provincial government to secure jobs or visas on your behalf
  • signs of a scam include asking for payment (‘visa fee’, ‘placement fee’, or ‘security deposit’) to be sent to a personal account
  • some scammers invent a third party that sounds official (they will say it is connected with the government), but the company does not actually exist

Telephone scams

All of the above email scams can also happen over the phone. This includes ‘guaranteed’ visas, LMIAs, jobs, or scholarships, as well as fake invitations or nominations.

Be aware that:
  • we will not phone you to collect money or payments
  • we may sometimes contact clients by phone to get more information or documents to continue processing an application
  • we will return phone calls when you leave a message on our phone line
  • we will NEVER ask you for any sort of payment by phone

Email Spoofing

Email spoofing is the forgery of an email. The message looks like it is from a government office, but it is actually sent by a scammer. One way to spot a spoofed email is to review the message for unusual spaces, especially in the message’s hyperlinks, and the use of poor grammar, such as the frequent use of capitals.

Be aware that:
  • the BC PNP will not ask you to change your spam filters.
  • the federal immigration office (IRCC) and the BC PNP do not send out joint emails or letters
  • you can contact the BC PNP at PNPInfo@gov.bc.ca to inquire if the email you received is authentic

Fake Websites

It’s easy for scammers to copy an official website, or build one that looks real and professional. Websites may say they are official Government of Canada or provincial government sites or their partners. Others may offer special immigration deals or guaranteed jobs. They do this to trick people into paying them money.

Some of these sites may ask for your private information. This could be used to steal your identity.


How can I protect myself from immigration fraud?

  • research and learn about Canada’s immigration pathways from the official websites
  • if you have doubts about certain information, verify by searching our website, or going to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada site
  • Contact us via email, phone or in person if you have doubts about any BC PNP correspondence you have received
  • Contact IRCC if you have doubts about any IRCC correspondence you have received
  • if you get a suspicious call, hang up right away
  • don’t open emails, click on links, or open attachments from people or organizations you don’t know
  • if you receive a suspicious email or phone call, do not answer it. If you come across a fraudulent website, do not visit it. You can also report the incident to your local police, and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
  • never enter private information on a website unless there is a padlock in the browser window or ‘https://’ at the beginning of the web address to show it is secure
  • do not share personal or financial information online
  • do an internet search on the company offering a job or immigration assistance. Search the company name, as well as the email address or phone number you received contact from
  • make sure your browser is up-to-date. Browser filters can help detect fake websites
  • if you choose to have a representative, go to our Using a Representative page first. You don’t need a representative to apply for immigration
  • if you choose to have a representative, make certain that your application includes your correct personal email address in addition to your representative’s contact details, to guarantee that you receive all correspondence from the BC PNP, and to ensure your access to your application.
  • all BC PNP documents are available for free download on our website; all IRCC forms are available for free download on their site

You should watch out for:

  • offers that seem too good to be true, or if something is guaranteed
  • a letter that makes you think something is urgent, and that there is a deadline or a limited time to do what they are asking
  • a name of a company that is close to an official government name, but not exactly the same
  • poor grammar and spelling errors on the letter, ad or email
  • requests for sensitive or personal information like your date of birth, passwords, scans of passport pages or other official documentation, or credit card or banking information

More information from IRCC on scams and fraud:

IRCC: Internet, email and telephone scams

IRCC Help Centre: Fraud and Scams