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Foreign nurses out $24,000 — and left with no recourse — after job offers in N.L. disappear

Foreign nurses out ,000 — and left with no recourse — after job offers in N.L. disappear

Pleasure Thompson has a dream of reuniting her household and having her daughters lastly be a part of her in Canada.

Thompson got here right here in 2004 as a home employee to assist assist her youngsters and put them by means of college again within the Philippines. 

“If I didn’t exit of my nation, there’s nothing for them. There’s nothing for us,” she mentioned.

Thompson noticed her youngsters often through the years. Her son, additionally a nurse, works in Yellowknife.

When Thompson’s boss launched her to the homeowners of a Toronto-based employment company in late 2018, Thompson felt the dream of bringing her two daughters to Canada was lastly about to return true.

Her daughters, Aubrey and April Nuval, had been working as nurses within the United Arab Emirates. Thompson jumped on the alternative when Rose and Bert Smith, co-owners of Apex Connection Corp., advised her they might assist get them Canadian visas.

However nearly 5 years later, her daughters stay within the U.A.E., after their association with the company advanced right into a dispute and the household discovered themselves with nowhere to show for recourse.

Final fall, the federal authorities introduced a brand new immigration plan that will see Canada welcome half 1,000,000 immigrants per yr by 2025, a transfer that might result in a rise in these providing potential newcomers assist in acquiring a Canadian work allow.

Specialists advised CBC Information it’s vital to solely give cash to a licensed immigration skilled who is permitted to provide immigration recommendation.

Service agreements signed

Thompson mentioned that inside per week of assembly the Smiths on the resort the place she labored in Niagara Falls, Ont., Rose Smith advised her {that a} shut buddy in Newfoundland wanted staff on the seniors residence she operated. 

Rhonda Simms, the proprietor of Pleasantview Manor in Lewisporte, N.L., wanted private care attendants, Smith advised Thompson. The Nuval sisters had been prepared to take $15-an-hour positions, nicely under their nursing {qualifications} to get everlasting residency in Canada.

Thompson signed two service agreements with Smith’s company — Apex Connection Corp. — for $24,000, or $12,000 every for Aubrey and April and their companions. The nurses had raised many of the cash and, with assist from household, had gathered the funds for the agreements.

The agreements included processing their federal immigration purposes, their provincial purposes and discovering an employer prepared to sponsor their everlasting residency utility.

Rose Smith, left, and Bert Smith, pictured right here in 2019, are the administrators of Apex Connection Corp., a Toronto-based employment company that additionally provides immigration providers. (Bert Smith/Fb)

Nevertheless, by early 2021, greater than two years after the agreements had been signed, the job provides had been gone.

Paradoxically, the connection that Thompson as soon as described as “God despatched” spiralled into an acrimonious dispute between the Smiths and the Nuvals over who was guilty for the method falling aside. 

CBC Information has been granted entry to the Nuvals’ immigration information, along with electronic mail correspondence with them, their mom and with Smith over greater than a two-year interval.

Thompson mentioned Rose Smith by no means allowed them entry to their immigration purposes. At one level in September 2019, when Thompson requested for an replace, Smith advised her to cease sending so many emails.

“I requested a buddy for a favour to sponsor your daughters and she or he agreed to assist me. However at the moment, I believe I favor to refund you and shut their purposes,” wrote Smith.

The Nuvals selected to stay with Smith. Aubrey Nuval’s visa was authorised first, however when she requested to talk to the employer Aubrey claims, “Rose didn’t enable us to contact her.”

Two women dressed in nursing scrubs pose for a selfie in this composite image.
April Nuval, left, and Aubrey Nuval are each registered nurses. April is presently within the Philippines, whereas Aubrey continues to work within the United Arab Emirates. (Submitted by Pleasure Thompson)

Smith advised CBC Information in a written assertion she didn’t stop the Nuvals from talking with the potential employer, and the allegation they weren’t given an opportunity to see what was occurring of their purposes is unfaithful.

In December 2020, Smith advised Aubrey Nuval that the employer had put hiring her on maintain due to the impression potential publicity to COVID-19 might need on seniors at her retirement residence. 

This didn’t make sense to Thompson and her daughters, who had each been vaccinated within the U.A.E., and knew that Canada was permitting overseas staff to enter the nation in the event that they had been quarantined for 14 days.

They reached out to an officer with Newfoundland and Labrador Immigration, which administered the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program below which the Nuvals utilized.

“We discover the knowledge your agent is supplying you with to be regarding,” the immigration officer wrote.

The officer mentioned the disconnect between the Nuvals and the employer was of nice concern to their workplace, including it was vital they’ve entry to their work allow and everlasting residency purposes always.

The officer additionally warned them about immigration fraud, and prompt they test if their agent was registered.

N.L. Immigration put the Nuvals’ purposes on maintain to research, and requested them to ship a replica of their signed settlement with their agent in Canada.

Not a registered marketing consultant

Below Canada’s Immigrant and Refugee Safety Act (IRPA), the one individuals who can cost a price for offering immigration recommendation are legal professionals and paralegals who’re members in good standing of a Canadian provincial or territorial legislation society, notaries who’re in good standing with Chamber of Notaries of Quebec or citizenship or immigration consultants who’re members in good standing of the School of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC.)

It turned out Rose Smith was none of these, and due to this fact not approved to offer immigration providers for a price.

“I do know that we should always have researched first,” mentioned Aubrey Nuval. “However I didn’t anticipate that there’s such a factor in Canada.”

The Nuvals determined to retain an immigration paralegal to grow to be their new approved consultant. Quickly after, Simms withdrew her job provides. 

“The employer will not be conversant in that particular person,” Smith wrote in an electronic mail to Thompson. “She is my buddy and solely sponsored and employed the ladies due to our relationship.”

A single-storey building is shown at the end of a long driveway, with snow covering the ground and the building's roof. An illuminated sign out front reads: Welcome to Pleasantview Manor.
The operator of Pleasantview Manor retirement residence in Lewisporte, N.L., withdrew her endorsement of Aubrey and April Nuval’s employment by means of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program after the Nuvals retained an immigration paralegal to be their new approved consultant. (Keith Whelan/CBC)

There’s no indication Simms did something improper. CBC Information reached out to Simms for a response. She mentioned she had no remark however mentioned she wished the perfect for the Nuvals. 

“Our desires shattered,” mentioned Thompson. “My hope of being with them disappeared.”

When Thompson requested Apex Connection Corp. for his or her a refund, Smith mentioned she did the work they paid her to do, including “Aubrey already obtained her visa and April may be very near receiving hers.”

The Smiths advised CBC Information they provided to fulfill and focus on a compromise with the Nuvals however they declined.

The Smiths additionally mentioned neither of them is an immigration marketing consultant, nor have they ever held themselves out to be.

When requested by CBC Information why she was providing immigration providers with no licence, Rose Smith mentioned Apex retained a lawyer “all through the endorsement course of and to characterize the Nuvals’ work allow and everlasting resident purposes.” 

Thompson mentioned they by no means heard from Apex’s lawyer, by no means knew his identify and the one one that ever gave them immigration recommendation was Rose Smith.

No recourse

Aubrey Nuval filed a grievance with the Regulation Society of Ontario, which concluded there was inadequate proof to assist the allegation that Apex’s lawyer engaged in skilled misconduct.

“The problems that you’ve raised relate extra intently to the service offered by the licensed immigration marketing consultant,” the decision counsel wrote to Aubrey in an electronic mail.

So the household reached out to the federal regulatory authority, the Canadian School of Immigration Consultants (CICC).

Paradoxically, the truth that Smith will not be a licensed member means the CICC can’t self-discipline her even when it discovered wrongdoing.

The problem of unregulated consultants charging overseas staff for immigration providers will not be a brand new phenomenon in Canada, however one John Murray, president and CEO of the CICC, is attempting to deliver below management.

“Unlicensed practitioners have been extraordinarily energetic in each facet of Canadian immigration,” mentioned Murray.

A man with brown hair, wearing a suit and tie, sits at a desk in front of an office window, looking at a laptop screen.
John Murray, president and CEO of the School of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants, has requested Ottawa for extra powers to pursue unauthorized immigration practitioners. (Ousama Farag/CBC)

The CICC was created by federal laws in November 2021 to switch the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICRC). Along with licensing and regulating consultants, it was given higher investigative powers.

The CICC has a “very restricted energy to deliver injunctions in opposition to unlicensed practitioners,” mentioned Murray, including that it has requested the federal authorities to amend the laws to provide it extra energy to curb this apply.

“We’re nonetheless ready for a solution.”

Few cures, specialists say

Phil Mooney, a regulated Canadian immigration marketing consultant who has served as an adviser to the Canada Border Companies Company and IRCC, and has examined the Nuvals’ immigration case, says there are regulated professions on this nation “with a purpose to present safety to the general public.”

Mooney mentioned had Thompson signed service agreements with a licensed immigration marketing consultant or a lawyer, their respective regulatory our bodies have mechanisms in place that assist defend shoppers.

A man with white hair, wearing a blue and white striped shirt and a suit jacket, sits in an office chair.
Phil Mooney, a regulated Canadian immigration marketing consultant primarily based in Burlington, Ont., examined the Nuvals’ immigration information and mentioned it was clearly the recruiter who acted as their immigration consultant in placing collectively their utility and giving them recommendation on find out how to file it. (Ousama Farag/CBC)

“The contract needs to be between ourselves and the top consumer that stipulates how a lot it prices and what providers are being offered and the way they’ll have entry to the regulatory physique in case there’s an issue,” mentioned Mooney.

“For legal professionals and consultants, for those who take cash from a shopper, that cash ought to go into your belief account.” 

In line with the Regulation Society of Ontario, licensed legal professionals are required to keep up a separate shopper belief ledger account for every shopper to make sure that monies relating to at least one shopper will not be misused to the good thing about one other. 

CBC Information has obtained financial institution receipts that present at the very least a number of the cash Thompson paid went into Rose Smith’s private checking account.

A paper receipt shows a deposit made at a TD Bank in the sum of $2,650.
A deposit made by Pleasure Thompson went into Rose Smith’s checking account as partial cost for immigration providers for her daughters April and Aubrey Nuval. (Submitted by Pleasure Thompson)

Previous disputes

CBC Information has confirmed this isn’t the primary time shoppers have accused Rose Smith of improperly dealing with their immigration information and their cash.

Earlier than beginning Apex Connection Corp. in 2016, Smith had practised as an immigration lawyer below her earlier married identify, Rose-Laure Noel, on the Toronto agency Noel & Associates.

In 2014, the Regulation Society of Higher Canada — now the Regulation Society of Ontario — discovered Noel responsible {of professional} misconduct for failing to co-operate absolutely with its investigation into complaints from 5 shoppers.

The investigation concerned the charges she charged and the way she dealt with these charges. Noel was additionally discovered responsible of practising legislation whereas below suspension.

Noel’s licence to practise legislation was revoked in each Ontario and Quebec, the place she had practised below her maiden identify, Rose Legagneur.

A Black woman with long dark hair smiles for a selfie while seated in a car.
Rose Smith, pictured right here in 2015, is a former immigration lawyer who had her licence to practise in Ontario and Quebec revoked in 2014 for skilled misconduct. (Rose Smith/Fb)

Shopper E.T.

The primary grievance got here in 2008, from a shopper recognized in courtroom information as E.T., involving work Noel had carried out for him on immigration and household legislation points. 

An investigation was opened that seemed into, amongst different considerations, points associated to Noel’s billing of providers, together with whether or not the retainers she obtained from E.T. had been deposited to a belief account.

A legislation society listening to panel discovered Noel responsible {of professional} misconduct for failing to co-operate with its forensic auditor throughout its investigation.

The chair of the panel wrote in her abstract that Noel “didn’t take severely the have to be candid and useful to the society.”

Purchasers A.D., M.D. and D.S.

In 2011, the legislation society obtained letters from three extra shoppers — A.D., M.D., and D.S. — all complaining concerning the providers of Noel of their immigration instances. 

The society repeatedly despatched letters to Noel requesting responses to the allegations and the entire authentic information of the complainants, plus 16 further shoppers.

Noel didn’t reply to many of the letters and didn’t ship the requested data and paperwork to the society’s investigation division.

Practising whereas below suspension

In 2012, whereas nonetheless below investigation, Noel’s privileges had been suspended with an enterprise to not practise legislation in Ontario, after she didn’t pay annual dues. 

A grievance was made to the society that whereas below that suspension, Noel intervened in a case involving a minor league soccer membership east of Toronto and the suspension of one in every of its coaches — her fiancé on the time, Apex co-director Bert Smith.

Noel and Bert Smith — full identify Englhieberth Sharon Smith — each testified earlier than a society listening to committee that Noel had been appearing purely on a voluntary foundation. However proof confirmed she wrote a letter to the Central Ontario Minor Soccer League saying she was the authorized adviser for the membership and that she had been retained by her shopper to ahead a letter that was written on Noel & Associates Barristers & Solicitors letterhead.

In a followup electronic mail despatched by Noel to the league, she wrote: “We want to put you on discover that the choice to droop Mr. Smith was not correctly served.” 

Noel finally paid her dues, however in April 2013, the listening to panel ordered Noel’s licence to practise be suspended for an extra 12 months for skilled misconduct for failing to deposit the belief funds of 16 shoppers previous to completion of her providers.

Later that yr, in revoking her licence, the panel concluded that there have been nonetheless complaints from members of the general public for which their investigation couldn’t be accomplished due to Noel’s non-co-operation with their requests to supply paperwork.

Civil courtroom case

In 2019, the Ontario Superior Courtroom of Justice ordered defendants Rose Laure Noel and an affiliate to repay $40,000 to a Markham, Ont., lady for failing to offer immigration providers. 

In 2013, Keshuai Chai was on the lookout for assist to sponsor her brother and his spouse to immigrate to Canada from China, when she was launched to Noel.

After signing a service settlement that promised to safe provincial nominee purposes and everlasting residence purposes, Keshuai Chai paid a deposit of $20,000. 

A number of months later, Chai was suggested that Noel had secured a job supply for her brother and his spouse, so her brother made the steadiness cost of one other $20,000 as per the settlement.

The exterior of a red brick courthouse and a pair of glass doors is shown, with two people passing by.
In 2019, an Ontario Superior Courtroom of Justice in Newmarket, Ont., ordered defendants Rose Laure Noel and an affiliate to repay $40,000 to a Markham, Ont., lady for immigration providers that had been by no means offered. (CBC)

Afterward, when Chai inquired concerning the standing of their file, she was suggested that such issues took months and years to course of.

4 years on, when Chai requested for a standing replace, her name was not returned and shortly after, Noel blocked her telephone quantity.

Noel refused to reply, talk or ship a replica of the Chais’s file to the brand new lawyer they retained to assist.

In a written response to CBC Information, the Smiths mentioned that these had been dated and unrelated issues that “distract from the truth that there was no discovering of misconduct in relation to the Nuval sisters.”

A woman with glasses, wearing a pink plaid shirt, sits at a small white table, with an open laptop on it. On the screen is a video call featuring another woman.
Pleasure Thompson speaks along with her daughter, Aubrey Nuval, by video name. Aubrey remains to be in Abu Dhabi after a job supply in Newfoundland fell by means of. (Ousama Farag/CBC)

Thompson mentioned she has discovered a bitter lesson by not making certain that Smith was a registered immigration marketing consultant.

“I trusted my employer that a lot, with out me trying or attempting to look if she is licensed or not,” mentioned Thompson. 

Thompson has recommendation for anybody attempting to assist a member of the family  immigrate to Canada.

“Don’t belief simply,” she mentioned. “Search first, search many many instances. Be certain … to see if they’re actual … if it’s a authorized immigration marketing consultant.”