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Halifax consultant pleads guilty to immigration fraud-related charges

Harbux Singh Chahal has received a conditional sentence after pleading guilty to immigration fraud-related charges in a Halifax court.

Harbux Singh Chahal has received a conditional sentence after pleading guilty to immigration fraud-related charges in a Halifax court.

Photo:  (CBC News)


Harbux Singh Chahal gets conditional sentence after faking job offers for clients

A man who charged thousands of dollars to process immigration applications in Halifax — and in some cases included job offers that did not exist to support those applications — has been handed a conditional sentence.

Harbux Singh Chahal was sentenced Tuesday, after pleading guilty to six immigration fraud-related charges.

As part of his sentence, Chahal has also been ordered to pay $10,500 in restitution to be shared with his victims.

The 32-year-old advertised himself as a director of World Class Immigration Consultancy Services and Yes! Immigration Consultancy Services.

People who hired him said his profile on social media and offices in Halifax made him appear legitimate.

He was acting as an immigration consultant without having authorization, said Krystle Topping, the acting manager of the criminal investigations section for the Canada Border Services Agency for Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

The investigation into Chahal involved activities that happened in Halifax, Topping said, resulting in charges under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Five of the guilty pleas were for providing unauthorized representation under the act, Topping said, with one guilty plea for misrepresentation.

This guy was just trying to trap us, taking the money, said Ankit Joshi, who hired Chahal to help him and his wife with a number of immigration applications, including permanent residency.

They paid Chahal approximately $14,000 for various immigration services, Joshi said. The couple, who are originally from India, moved to Canada from Australia in 2019.

Employer raises alarm

However, they didn't hear anything about their applications for nearly six months, leading them to wonder what was going on.

To find answers, they approached an employer who had agreed to be part of their application.

I showed him a couple of documents, that 'this is from your business,' and he was surprised to see those documents, Joshi said. He never provided this information to anybody.

Chahal denied anything untoward was happening, Joshi said, when confronted.

Nonetheless, the majority of the couple's fees were returned, Joshi said, in cash and through an e-transfer.

Other victims

Chahal insisted the couple's applications were being processed, but investigators later told them files had not been submitted, Joshi said.

The couple lost about $3,000, he said, before finding someone else to help them with their applications.

They are now permanent residents living and working in Halifax. 

Six other victims, who are also originally from India and paid thousands of dollars in fees to Chahal, in 2019 and 2020, are mentioned in court documents. 

Some travelled from British Columbia to hire him.

Jobs did not exist

The documents refer to two cases where Chahal included employment offer letters purporting to be from companies in support of immigration applications.

Agreed facts before the court revealed those jobs did not exist and neither business mentioned was even looking to hire for the positions Chahal referred to.

Following his guilty pleas, the judge accepted a joint Crown and defence recommendation for a 20-month conditional sentence order.

He should learn his lesson, he shouldn't be doing that again, Joshi said.

CBC News