Thursday, March 20, 2008
Immigration consultant guilty of misconduct
Truck driver clients didn't get Canadian jobs
March 20, 2008
A Toronto immigration consultant has been found guilty of professional misconduct for failing to secure jobs for 24 Korean truck drivers she helped bring to Canada along with an immigration-consulting firm in Seoul.
After three months of deliberations, the discipline panel of the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants ruled this week that Yolanda Simao failed to provide quality service to the drivers despite her claim she was not retained by the drivers and that her only client was the Korean recruiter.
The ruling, which stemmed from the four-year-old regulatory body's first disciplinary hearing in November, sheds new light on the often-murky relationship between prospective migrants, consultants and myriad unregulated recruitment agents overseas.
It also redefines the scope of what is considered immigration work by consultants who, due to a recent expansion of Canada's temporary foreign worker program, are increasingly doubling up their duties by acting as employment recruiters helping overseas workers obtain work permits.
In their complaints, the drivers said they each paid thousands of dollars to the unregulated recruiter in Seoul, who teamed up with Simao to find them Canadian employment.
The drivers said they were told they would earn $60,000 a year and could expect to get Canadian permanent residency after getting a work permit. However, the jobs evaporated because their English was not up to par.
Their story was one of many profiled in a Star investigative series last year that looked into unscrupulous immigration advisers. The regulatory body is also probing another case involving Mississauga's CWC Immigration Solutions Inc., run by CSIC consultants Gurpreet and Kamalpreet Khaira.
The disciplinary panel's decision against Simao hinged on the definition of a client-consultant relationship. Simao argued that her job was done when she successfully obtained work permits for the drivers.
"If the panel takes Ms Simao's view, then there are indeed a limited number of occasions when a consultant can be said to have entered a consultant/client relationship," the 23-page decision explained.
"While she may not have known (the drivers) or even met them, Ms Simao represented their interests to (Service Canada)."
The Star's "Lost in Migration" series, which won a 2007 international Online Journalism Award in the public service category, can be seen at www.thestar.com/investigation.
Posted by Sergio Karas at 1:22 PM