Canada is a popular destination. Around the world, plenty of people are looking to travel, intern, study, work or settle in Canada—and scammers know that well.
Read on to avoid two common scams—permanent residence or work permit scams and Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) scams. (All amounts are in Canadian dollars.)
How do people get scammed?
It usually starts with a simple Google search using keywords like “eTA Canada,” “Working Holiday Canada” or “immigrating to Canada.” People click on the top results and often enough, they point to scammy, unofficial websites. They usually feature Canadian flags, some legalese and semi-official wording. They collect visitor information and follow up by email or phone.
Scammers have one goal—get money from you. For instance, they will charge extra fees for the eTA, which only cost $7. Work permit, study permit and permanent residence scams are even more deceptive. Scammers often promise to fast track your application or claim there are extra fees to pay. It can get nasty—occasionally, people who decline to send money receive threats. Remember that scammers do not work with the Government of Canada and can’t deport, arrest or ban anyone from going to Canada.
Dodge eTA scams
All travellers to Canada (i.e. tourists and temporary residents with a work or study permit) do need an eTA:
- Visitors must apply online at Canada.ca. The fee is $7.
- Temporary residents (e.g. Working Holiday, Young Professionals, etc.) also need an eTA but it is issued at the same time as the work permit.* You do not need to apply separately or pay an additional fee.
- Permanent residents do not need an eTA as long as they travel with a valid Permanent Resident Card.
*Important: Your eTA is linked to the passport and identity on your work, study or internship permit. If you get a new passport, you will have to apply for a new Canadian eTA.
If you keep the same passport, your eTA is valid for up to five years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first.
Dodge Working Holiday permit scams
- Submitting your profile to the pool is completely free. Read our Step-By-Step Guide to International Experience Canada Work Permits — International Co-op, Young Professionals and Working Holiday Applications for more information.
- It’s only if you get an Invitation to apply, accept it and decide to submit your application that you will have to pay the $341 fee:
Dodge immigration scams
Whether you’re applying for permanent residence in Canada or a work permit, watch out for immigration scams.
Plenty of websites look official but are deceptive or just plain scammy.
If you do choose to hire an immigration lawyer, consultant or representative, learn about what they can do (hint—they won’t fast track your application!) and make sure the person is licensed to represent immigrants or to give advice. For more info, read Using an immigration and citizenship representative.
- You do not have to hire an immigration lawyer, consultant, or whatever to apply for a work permit or permanent residence. All application kits are available for free on Canada.ca.
- It’s completely useless to use such services for a Working Holiday permit application—it definitely won’t improve your chances to get an Invitation to apply.
Take the time to read Internet, email and telephone scams to learn about the latest tricks.