Toronto: "Ghost" immigration consultants, including India-based agents, involved in duping people wishing to immigrate to Canada will face tough action with the introduction of a new legislation in the Canadian Parliament this week.
Under the new law, tougher penalties will be imposed against those running unlicensed immigration services.
Canada has also urged India and other countries to regulate immigration consultants operating in their territories.
Since there are more "ghost" immigration consultants than those registered with the regulatory Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants, Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said on Sunday that a bill to outlaw these fraud consultants will be introduced this week.
"There is a whole industry in Canada and around the world of people who offer advice to folks who want to immigrate to Canada, and many of these people are unscrupulous operators. We call them crooked consultants," Kenney said in a television interview.
Admitting that tens of thousands of people in Canada and abroad have fallen prey to these "ghost consultants", the minister said the new law will "make it a very serious offence to be operating without proper authority".
"They take money, often providing people with counterfeit documents or fraudulent advice or they don`t provide any services at all in return."
Hundreds of India-based consultancies operate in tandem with their Canada-based fraud partners to cheat thousands of prospective immigrants each year, defrauding them from USD 1,200 to USD 30,000 each.
Such agents are rampant specially in Punjab as immigrant families from that state in Canada want to bring their relatives here by hook or by crook.
Indo-Canadian immigration consultant Sheetal Jhuti says, "These fly-by-night immigration operators have set up shops in India to prey upon people desperate to move to Canada. They scam the poor gullible people waiting for any opportunity to get out of India."
More than 30,000 Indian immigrants come to this country legitimately each year, making India the second source of immigration for Canada after China.