Protecting Your Business: Our Top Tips to Avoid Immigration Scams

16 Nov 2022

Our team connects with Canadian employers every day. We chat with busy managers about labour shortages, hiring challenges, and their options for hiring foreign talent. 


Occasionally, we hear stories like these:


“I talked to an agent who told me I could hire foreign workers at no cost.”


“I heard that I can get the cost of my LMIA refunded once my new employees arrive.”


Free services might sound good at first, but they’re usually too good to be true. Unfortunately, they may also put your business at major legal risk. Don’t let your business fall victim to immigration scams!


Here are our top tips to protect yourself and your business from immigration fraud.


1. Understand the costs of hiring foreign workers.


The majority of businesses will need to pay a $1,000 LMIA processing fee to the Government of Canada in order to hire global talent. 


Employers must cover this cost. It’s illegal for businesses to make workers pay this fee or reimburse them for it later. Unfortunately, scammers and fraudulent immigration services do just that. 


Employers are also required to cover any costs related to the preparation of an LMIA, and costs associated with recruitment of foreign workers.

Employees contribute to the process too, including paying their work permit processing fee. They may also pay a third-party representative to complete their work permit application, or an employer might choose to pay it for them.

Both federal and provincial jurisdictions require that all fees must be laid out to both the employer and the foreign worker. If a third party service is not transparent about pricing with both you and your workers, that’s a red flag.


Understanding your legal obligations is key to protecting both your business and your employees.


2. If an offer is too good to be true, it likely is.


If anyone tells you that you can hire temporary foreign workers for free, alarm bells should be ringing! Almost all employers need to pay an LMIA processing fee or employer compliance fee to the government. If you or a third party charge workers for these fees, your business is breaking the law.

There are very few exceptions where neither LMIA fees or any employer fees need to be paid to the Canadian Government.

Make sure you ask a lot of questions to any third party you hire for help. Your company may be liable, even if you don’t know that recruitment costs are being paid by the foreign worker. It is not legal for a foreign worker to pay money to be hired for a job in Canada. 


3. Communicate with your new hires.

Accepting a job in another country is a huge step for workers. When they understand that you’re invested in the process, it gives them confidence in their transition. Having open conversations builds trust between employers and workers, and benefits both! 


Have discussions with your new employees about which costs each of you will cover. Chat about Canadian culture, your business, and any fears they may have about making such massive change. Communication is key to ensuring the endeavor is successful for you both. A lack of communication can cause problems and may lead to a worker backing out, and a loss of fees paid to the government.


If you are concerned that a third-party representative may be charging your employee unfairly, you can direct them to Government of Canada resources.



4. Get advice from a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant or lawyer.


Talking to an expert is a great first step in any business decision -  and hiring internationally is no different. If you’re paying an immigration consultant for help or advice, they legally must be:

    • A Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) with the college of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants
    • A lawyer (member of the Canadian law society)
    • A member of the Chambre des notaires du Québec (Quebec only).

These experts have specialized training and accountability within professional organizations, so you can confidently seek their advice.


As an employer, you know the value of saving money. But when it comes to hiring foreign workers, following the laws and avoiding illegal practices is the most important way you can protect your business.


When employers and workers both invest in the process fairly, they each contribute to a healthy professional relationship!


If you're ready to hire internationally, our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants can help. Get started here!


Please note: Immigration regulations are subject to change. For up-to-date information, please visit the Government of Canada's website or speak with a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant.