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It is evident that Filipinos are known for their trustworthiness and strong work ethic.

It is no surprise that Filipinos are the majority of overseas workers around the globe — and the numbers are growing exponentially.

But with all the attention and fan fare around Filipinos being the go to workforce for employers, it seems there is a hidden disadvantage.

There are people who prey on the vulnerable and there are scammers who constantly take advantage of foreign workers from the Philippines.

In three recent published cases Filipinos were once again the target of the scams.

EMPLOYING VISITORS ILLEGALLY

Jennilyn Morris became the first person in Alberta to be charged under the immigration act in 2014.

On May 20, 2016, Jennilyn Morris, of Edmonton, was sentenced to four years incarceration, of which one-and-a-half years will be served concurrently, under two paragraphs of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).

Morris was also ordered to pay $22,000 in restitution to 13 foreign nationals who were victimized by her false and misleading information.  

Between 2007 and 2010, Morris made job offers to three foreign nationals in the Philippines to induce them to come to Canada to work for her company.

Morris did not pay the wages promised, or the required amount of overtime pay stipulated in the contracts, and did not employ the foreign nationals solely in the positions approved in the Labour Market Opinion and contracts.

For this offence, pursuant to paragraph 127(b): knowingly communicating false or misleading information or declarations with intent to induce or deter immigration to Canada, Morris was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison.

Between 2006 and 2010, Morris employed at least 68 foreign nationals who were not authorized to work in Canada.

The foreign nationals were in Canada as visitors or with work permits for other employers.

For this offence, pursuant to paragraphs 124(1)(c): to employ foreign nationals in a capacity in which the foreign nationals are not authorized to be employed, Morris was sentenced to 1.5 years in prison, which will be served concurrently.

FAILURE TO EMPLOY IN OCCUPATIONAL ROLE

Marble Restaurants Ltd. pleaded guilty June 28 to employing a foreign national without authorization and failing to follow the terms of a labour market impact assessment.

The group, which has a website listing a number of Pizza Huts across the city under its ownership, was sentenced to pay $14,000 in fines and an additional $3,500 in restitution to the victim under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Between February 2014 and April 2015, Shamez Jivraj, director of the group, employed a woman as a housekeeper and part-time caregiver in his home, despite having received authorization to only employ her as a food counter attendant at the restaurant.

Jivraj did not adhere to hours or the occupational role set out by the labour assessment and continued to pay the woman as an employee of Marble Restaurants, the news release added.

UNAUTHORIZED WORK

The owners of an Alberta gas station were fined $36,000 on Monday after admitting they had illegally hired foreign workers.

Yoo and Yoo Enterprises Ltd. pleaded guilty in Edmonton’s provincial court to four offences under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act relating to employing a foreign national in a capacity in which they were not authorized to be employed.

In exchange for the guilty plea — which encompassed nine Filipino workers — charges against Soon Sang Yoo and his son, Hyun Suk Yoo, were withdrawn, as well as other charges against the company.

According to an agreed statement of facts, the Yoos own and operate the Mundare Esso gas station and they were losing workers in 2013 and having difficulty recruiting Canadian citizens or permanent residents to work for their business.

As a result, they sought help from family friend David Park, who owned a restaurant in Edmonton and said he had a connection in Vancouver who could recruit Filipino workers from overseas.

Federal prosecutor Michelle Ferguson told court that Hyun Suk Yoo knew the workers were foreign nationals and that they were not authorized to be employed at the Mundare Esso.

Court heard that once they began working, Yoo would have the family friend start the paperwork so the worker could get a new work permit authorizing them to work at Mundare Esso.

Court heard the nine workers illegally worked at Mundare Esso between April 10, 2013 and Dec. 11, 2013.

Court also heard they each paid Park $5,000 to get the paperwork done for their work permits, but once they had arrived, they were told the job at the authorized workplace was no longer available, however there was a new job at Mundare Esso.

Ferguson told court the workers felt they had no choice as Park had arranged their employment, they were new in Canada and they had all borrowed money to make the journey.

They were also worried that working without authorization could jeopardize their status.

***

Atty. Henry Moyal is a certified and licensed immigration lawyer in Toronto, Ontario.

The above article is general advice only and is not intended to act as a legal document.

Send questions to him by e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call toll-free: 1-888-847-2078.

 

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