How do employment agencies abroad deceive clients?

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An interview with a man who wanted to work in Canada and was deceived by a recruitment agency followed by an analysis of the details of the contract drawn up with the company .

Hello from Canada! My name is Alex Pavlenko.

I am often asked, how to find a job in Canada, how to move to Canada by work permit, whether you can trust employment agencies in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus or Kazakhstan.

Usually representatives of such companies promise fabulous salaries in Canada, free accommodation, free meals, and probably a free flight to and from Canada. So people expect getting to Canada without English or with poor English, learning it in a year or two, and eventually taking their whole family, and after it all getting Canadian passports. Is this true or is it a scam? Let's figure it out.

Today I received an e-mail from a guy. Artem complained that he had been deceived by an overseas employment agency. At first he was promised a job in Canada, a good, high-paying job with a salary of over $100,000 CAD (Canadian dollars). He paid for the paperwork, but in the end he did not get to Canada and had no refund. Moreover, it turned out that there were a lot of such victims, and now all these people have united and are trying, with the help of the police, to make a criminal case against the company.

I immediately asked him to record an interview, and he agreed.

The interview is quite long, and at the end of it I will insert my analysis of the contract that Artem signed with the Canadian company. I will explain why I consider this contract originally fake, it was probably made by a Russian company and the Canadian company was never there in the first place. Anyway, here we go!

— (Alexei) Artem, hello. Tell me what problem you have had.

— (Artem) I tried to find a job abroad, specifically in Canada, through a staffing agency located in the city of Yekaterinburg, Russian Federation. I considered Canada, because I know about the need for manpower, about prospects, growth and stability, so I turned to the employment company Algorithm in Yekaterinburg.

We concluded a contract with the cost of 60,000 rubles (Russian rubles). This amount was divided into 2 parts: 10,000 RUB to the agency as a processing fee and 50,000 RUB to the potential employer (it is stated in the contract by the representative of the Ministry of Labour of Canada) to be paid as a proof that the employee is ready to come and to be compensated after the employee comes to Canada.

The time to go through the approval process is 2-3 months, which means I was supposed to be in Canada around December 14, 2016, but that didn't happen.

The agency is currently in dissolution. Mrs. Kochergina Svetlana Vasilievna (director) is doing well and does not refundthe money; she justifies it by saying that she has already transfered the money and that's the end of the story. She bears no responsibility. Well, the law enforcement services are still not acting, but that's just for now, because I have just arrived in Yekaterinburg and applied to the police. Right now, I think something has to happen anyway. That's it in a nutshell.

— (Alexei) What have you worked as before, how old are you, and what English level do you have?

— (Artem) I am 43 years old, I passed Pre-Intermediate (the lowest intermediate level) English exam with a certified teacher in Yekaterinburg. As for my education, I graduated from Ulyanovsk Higher Military Engineering College of Communication, the faculty of automated control systems of communication troops.

In 2002, I retired from the military forces and went into the national economy, as we say here. I built and operated telecom operators' backbone networks, communications facilities and communications, and built backbone fiber-optic communication lines. Depending on the situation and the time, I had up to 135 people under my command.

For the last year I worked in Surgut, as a project manager for the sale of electrical equipment.

— (Alexei) How much on average did you gain in a year?

— (Artem) Well, let's take last year. Officially I earned about 700,000 rubles.

— (Alexei) Okay, let me open a currency converter : 700,000 rubles is about $15,000 CAD. And when you started looking for a job in Canada, what annual salary were you offered?

— (Artem) In Canada I was offered the position of crew foreman, a salary of $102,000 CAD per year or $48.29 CAD per hour, full-time job from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., 44 hours per week.

— (Alexei) How did you come up with the idea of going to work in Canada in the first place?

— (Artem) In a nutshell, I was in the U.S. last year... I saw how people live.

— (Alexei) Ha! I see.

— (Artem) Yes, it all, frankly speaking, had an impact. I really want to try my hand in working abroad. In stable developed countries it's about realization, experience, stability and, you know, confidence in the future. So far, frankly, there is a lack of it in my life.

— (Alexei) How did you find this company you appealed to?

— (Artem) As it happens, you know, fools are "lucky", I googled "work abroad"...

— (Alexei) On the Internet, right?

— (Artem) ...yes, on the Internet, and in the first lines of the search results I saw "employment company Algorithm", and there were a lot of vacancies. I immediately called and had an appointment. I was at that time without a job and the money for me was paid by my friend. This is all documented. And Kochergina is certified, you know, I wouldn't even call it right now. In general, she is a certified negotiator. Yes, she is a smooth talker. We had a mutual acquaintance, but honestly I did not check Kochergina out at the time. I so believed her, since she spoke so confidently. She pretended (I did not see it myself) discussing my candidacy with someone via Skype and seding my data (I filled out some simple form). I said, "Look, my English is not good enough to work out all the details with a customer, I do not have enough vocabulary. She was like, "Look, it's no big deal. The main thing that you are a good handy guy". I said, "Hmm, that's what I am".

Then a few days later my friend went to transfer the money, Kochergina indicated in the documents that she accepted it. In October she called me back and said: "Well, let someone come to get the contract". I signed the contract from my side, it was not stamped yet, because the contract was sent by mail in electronic form, we printed it out in the office, I signed it, and from my side, according to her, at first she took the contract to France, but she was rejected there, and from France she went to Italy.

— (Alexei) I lost my train of thought. Why go to France, then to Italy? What is the connection to Canada? Where were you planning to work? Were you told which company you were going to work for? What does a Russian company have to do with a Canadian one? You will be hired by a Canadian company, not a Russian one.

— (Artem) I asked that question. She said, "Listen, well, the director of the company..." There's a Canadian company, yes, it's called Les Constructions Amiskw Inc. Inc is Insurance, right?

— (Alexei) Incorporated, I guess.

— (Artem) Ah, Incorporated, yes.

— (Alexei) It turns out that this is a Canadian company, which is located in the province of Quebec. That's where I live.

— (Artem) I was told that the company had a lot of facilities all over Canada and the facilities can be anything. And it is outlined in the contract that at least 50% of my work is business trips across the country. Kochergina said that the agency has already sent a lot of people, it works. I said, "Svetlana Vasilyevna, but what kind of money do you make? What is your interest?" She was like, "Look, my Canadian employer pays for everything: advertising, for the fact that I deliver people (employees), I get my royalty (fees) for each employee, and so on and so forth. I was like, "Look, well, yeah, it's actually an interesting business. She was like, "Yeah, the prospects are awesome". So there you go.

When I was there, more people came to sign up for the program, but I don't know their story. When we realized that we had been cheated we started looking for each other through the forums — and I found people. I have the data of five of them.

— (Alexei) Who also contacted this Russian company?

— (Artem) Yes. After that file a report with the police, and the operational officers and I went to the office. Well Kochergina, of course, wasn't there, and she didn't pick up the phone.

I filed the report because I didn't get to Canada and Kochergina refused to return the money.

— (Alexey) 60 000 RUB.

— (Artem) 60,000 RUB, right.

— (Alexei) $1,300 CAD somewhere. And who had to pay for the visa fee, the flight, your accommodation? Was this all specified?

— (Artem) Yes, it was all specified. It all had to be paid for by the employer. So, the interview for a work permit to Canada had to take place in St. Petersburg. The plan was that: we were scheduled for an interview, let's say, today I pass it, and tomorrow I take tickets from my employer, get on a plane and leave.

If the employer put his stamp and signature on the employment contract, it meant that the employer resolved all organizational issues with the migration service and with the Ministry of Labor. As we were told, there are certain rules for hiring, that is, the employer must convince everyone that he needs this specialist and within a radius (I do not remember exactly what radius), let's say, seven miles he cannot find such a specialist, so he invites one from Russia. That's the kind of information we had during the negotiations.

Kochergina says she went to Interpol, but of course she's lying, she can't and has no right to go to Interpol....

— (Alexei) Did you have any problems with the police?

— (Artem) Well, the story is like, hah... of course, I filed a report in January — still no answer. I did it again — and again nothing. I personally went to the police office. My material that I submitted was somehow lost. Kochergina lies a lot. And the police officers themselves understand that she was deceiving them,  they say: "SListen, it seems that her guilt and corpus delicti are absent, she is not a fraud". I said, "What made you think that? — "Well, she gave the money away." I said, "How did she confirm that she gave the money?" — "Well, she said..."

— (Alexei) Did she give it to you?

— (Artem) No, to the employer, so her actions do not constitute a crime, because she took money from me and gave it to the employer. I said: "And how did she give it?" And they just stood staring at me.

We calculated: Kochergina owes about 3,000,000-3,500,000 rubles for her work. The passivity of people, of course, is very surprising. People are afraid to go to the police. Well, I do not know why. But now it seems like everything, the process is underway, because there are already about 15 applications. I think this is not the end.

— (Alexei) 3,500,000 rubles is, who doesn't know, about $59,000 USD. This is only the money of those people who are known to have gotten in, and perhaps there are 10 times more of those who paid and gave up, did not want to get involved.

— (Artem) Yes! And I talk to people, for example, I ask: "Why don't you file a report?" I hear silence or: "Well, I went to write — it was not accepted". I said, "Wait a minute, how could they not accept it?" Such childish babbling. I said, "Don't you feel sorry for the money loss?" — and I get a mooing response. But now we will not leave Kochergin unpunished, because this person should not do what she does. She opens companies, accumulates debts, then liquidates companies, and opens new ones.

If you type "svetlana vassilievna kochergina algorithm" into a Russian-language search engine, like Yandex, you will get to many forums and you will be able to make a portrait of this person. 

— (Alexei) Well, one year has passed. You are already firmly convinced that you were scammed, you were left without money. What advice would you give to other people who want to find a job in Canada, what should they look for, how to check information or clear out things that look suspicious?

— (Artem) I did not know the whole algorithm, how you can really go to Canada either permanently or temporarily to work. Well, I do not know, you should read more information. Also a friend of mine from Ukraine sent me a link to your videoblogs. This is a strong help, of course, the things you tell and show. I was told: "Well, Artem, you are a good worker; $1,000 CAD — and you're set. And you're almost the prime minister of Canada."

Of course, my illiteracy, yes, my illiteracy and trust— this is the first. The second — how the money is transferred. On no account should you give your money as I did. You should always check everything. In my case I had to check and say: "Svetlana Vasilyevna, are you authorized to do that? Let me see the contract".

Lately, when I studied the situation, I found out such a concept as, if I'm not mistaken, an immigration attorney or commissioner — a licensed professional.

— (Alexei) Artem, thank you very much for the story. I hope you will get your money back, you will succeed. If you make an effort to improve your English, you will eventually get to Canada, but probably not through employment, but through some provincial immigration program.

— (Artem) Alexei, thank you. I am always in touch.

The results after talking with Artem and analysis of the contract.

I opened the document that Artem signed with the Canadian company (if it is a Canadian company at all), and I'll tell you what I did not like here, why I think this contract is not entirely fair.

First of all, notice the top right corner and the words "Canada" and the Canadian flag. This, I don't know what to call it, the Canada logo is often used in official documents. This is a commercial company, so there is no point in using official Canadian symbols at all, except to dust your eyes and convince: "Look how official we are, we'll hire you, trust us".

Next, the seal. Stamps are used almost nowhere in Canada. Of course, you can say that this company has experience of hiring people from Russia, from Ukraine, where stamps are needed, and so they got themselves a stamp and put it on. But this also raises a red flag.

Next, the date. The date format is "09.09.2016". This is the Russian, Ukrainian date format, where you write the day, month, year, and this is separated by dots (DD.MM.YYYYY). In Canada, you write the year first, then the month, then the day, using a separator "-" (YYYY-MM-DD), or they use a slightly different date format with "/" (YYYY/MM/DD).

Next, the e-mail address of the Canadian company is "adsed.canada@gmail.com". And the box for some reason is gmail. Well also suspicious. If such a serious company, do not they have $10 CAD per month to get a proper box on their domain?

I also didn't like the phone number — "143-844-83791". Yes, I understand that numbers can be written down in different ways, you can not to write hyphens at all, you can use spaces, but still, in Canada it is very rare to see such a record, and it immediately caught my eye.

I look at the bottom of the document, where the address of the company is listed. Look at how the name of the city is written — "Monreal". In principle, in Russian Montreal and in English Monreal is also okay. But if anyone doesn't know, in English it is spelled with a "t" — Montreal.

And I do not believe that the guys who made such an impressive document with such logos of Canada and so on, who live in Quebec, do not know how to spell the name of their city. Well, that's just an unacceptable typo.

There's also some second company address: 160 house, street, city — "...160 Mistassini Manouane...". You know, at first I thought this company didn't exist at all, but I went to the official Canadian website, typed in the company name in the search field. And yes, there is such a company, here is also the same address, that is, it seems even ok for now. But a few points: here we see a different e-mail address — "info@amiskw.com", and the domain is also not gmail but a separate site. But if I go there, what do I see? There is no website. It's also very suspicious that such a great company, which has a bunch of offices all over Canada, couldn't make at least a one-page website.

Also, I was nterested in the city where the company is located, or at least the city for postal correspondence — Manouane. I typed its name into Google Maps, then looked it up on Wikipedia, and it turns out that Manouane is actually a Native American reservation, which means that the area seems to be Canadian, but it has a designated settlement where Indians live. This is all very, very suspicious. I do not believe in such a contract.

I hope that our information was useful for you and you will share this video with your friends to warn them about scamming. If you have a similar experience of deception or the opposite one, when you have successfully found a job with the help of employment agencies abroad, write to me. Here is my email address: mail@Immigrant.Today

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