Immigration consultants reap millions in processing wealthy Syrian refugees

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Toronto, April 22 (CINEWS): Immigration consultants are reaping in millions of dollars in fees from Syrians working in the Middle East who want to come to Canada as refugees.
These Syrians currently have work permits but can only continue living in these countries as long as they have work, after that they would have to leave the country. Because of the situation in Syria. Capitalizing on their situation, many immigration consultants are making the rounds in these countries, advertising their services on social media and setting up shop in five-star hotels.
Some charge $100 for an initial consultation fee and charge $5,000 per individual or more for a family.
CBC News reveal that the consultant is not only charging prospective refugees thousands of dollars to process their applications but also asking them to pay the full cost of their resettlement up front, which violates the financial guidelines of the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program.
Abeer Qita runs a an immigration consulting firm named Fast to Canada, based in Mississauga, Ont., together with her husband. She charges $5,000 to process refugee applications and says others in the industry charge much more.
In a retainer agreement with a client, she laid out her $5,000 fee plus a series of other charges. He shared the agreement with the CBC.
Notably, the document requires that refugee applicants pay the full cost of their resettlement prior to arriving in Canada — once their application is assigned a file number by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The amount requested ranges from $12,000 for one person to $32,000 for a family of six (corresponding togovernment estimates of the minimum financial support required from sponsors).
The Fast to Canada agreement specifies that the settlement funds are to be held in trust by the Canada Newcomers & Immigration Association (CNIA) and disbursed in 12 monthly instalments once the refugees are in Canada. CNIA is a non-profit group that provides services to refugees in the Greater Toronto Area and works with designated sponsorship agreement holders to co-sponsor refugees.
Under the private sponsorship program, individuals or groups who want to sponsor a refugee must raise enough money to support them for a year. If refugees become financially self-sufficient before the year is up, sponsors no longer have to support them but do have to keep adequate funds on hand for the full year.

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