Many people around the world aspire to live and work in Canada. The wide variety of jobs available and the diverse contexts in which these jobs can be performed make Canada a real land of opportunity. Not surprisingly, the web is full of employment scams designed to take advantage of people’s aspirations.
A Canadian job offer is something that is indeed eagerly sought after by countless foreign nationals from countries around the world. Unfortunately, many dishonest individuals take advantage of this fact and reach out to foreign nationals to offer them what is presented as a legitimate Canadian job offer, when in fact it is a scam.
Fortunately, there are a number of warning signs that can help identify dishonest tactics that specifically target job seekers or those seeking financial opportunities in Canada. Here are five of them:
1) An unrealistic compensation
Salaries and benefits that are not commensurate with the nature of employment are signs that the job offer is not real.
The first and most obvious sign of a problem is a salary that is too high for the job being offered. If in doubt, the average Canadian salary per occupation can be verified on the Canadian Government’s Job Bank site.
If there is a significant discrepancy between the salary information found on the site and the proposed salary, this does not bode well for the legitimacy of the job and is likely too good to be true.
A second sign that should raise doubts about the validity of an employment offer is a wide range of job-related benefits that are too attractive. Many of these false job offers feature a range of benefits that would spark lofty ideals and big dreams for any foreigner looking for a job. Paid airfare from the country of origin, free accommodation and an unrealistic holiday period are common benefits found in fraudulent job offers.
2) A work authorization has been obtained, all you have to do is pay a fee
There are several things wrong with this picture.
First, it is rare for a company to voluntarily go through the application process and navigate the complex Canadian immigration bureaucracy to hire a foreign worker without first conducting a face-to-face interview with their prospective employee.
Second, the process of applying for work authorization in Canada necessarily involves the participation of the foreign national. The idea that a work permit can be obtained by an employer without the involvement of the foreign national he or she intends to employ, is most likely neither possible nor plausible.
Finally, the amount claimed in the vast majority of cases does not reflect the actual cost of obtaining a work permit. The government fee for a work permit application is $155, whereas the amount charged in the context of a fake job offer is usually significantly higher.
3) Missing or incorrect employer contact information
One of the most obvious and objective signs that an offer is fake is a problem with the contact information provided by the employer.
First, if the area code of the telephone number provided does not correspond to where the business is supposed to be located, it does not bode well for its legitimacy. The same holds true if the telephone number has been disconnected, if it is a wrong number or if no one ever answers.
The second part of the contact information that can be used to discern a fake offer is the email address provided by the employer. If a legitimate company’s website is www.XYZ.com, and the name of the company representative is Stephen, then the email address would almost certainly be Stephen@xyz.com. It does not matter if the email address is very similar to the address used for the website, if it doesn’t match exactly, it’s a good indication of a scam.
4) Poor quality of language
Common sense suggests that the vast majority of individuals in a position to make an employment offer in Canada would have a good command of the English language.
Therefore, errors in the text of the job offer letter are a good indication that it is not legitimate. Incorrect verb conjugation, punctuation and misspelled words should not be prevalent in an official document from a Canadian company.
5) Unconventional offer letter
The extent to which the offer letter appears to be an official communication from a respected Canadian company can generally be quite revealing.
Sometimes, a quick glance at the job offer letter is enough to discern a lack of authenticity. The formatting of the letter and the graphics or images it contains may stand out and seem off-putting.
Most Canadian companies are very effective at writing professional-looking offer letters to potential employees. Therefore, if the manner in which the letter is written seems inadequate, or if there is an unconventional choice of font or font size, this should be a concern with respect to the legitimacy of the offer.
Although fraudsters have effective strategies for deceiving unsuspecting foreign nationals, there are telling clues that can be used to recognize these strategies. By identifying and understanding these clues, it is possible to detect false job offers and prevent foreign nationals from becoming victims of these fraudulent schemes.
Stephen Sherman is a Canadian immigration attorney with the Campbell, Cohen Immigration Law Firm in Montreal. He specializes in assisting foreign nationals to work legally in Canada and resolving issues relating to criminal inadmissibility to Canada.
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