4 B.C. businessmen charged following investigation into alleged immigration fraud
Dozens of charges are tied to Can-Asia Immigration Consultants of Surrey
Four notable B.C. businessmen face a series of charges under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) for their role in an alleged immigration fraud network.
The charges are tied into a four-year Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) investigation into Can-Asia Immigration Consultants' Rupinder (Ron) Batth and his wife Navdeep Batth, who now also face dozens of charges between them.
Randhir (Randy) Toor, Surinder Paul Singla, Ved Kaler and Gurtaj Grewal each face multiple counts of counselling or attempting to counsel misrepresentation or helping people misrepresent facts related to their immigration. The men were all charged in early September along with the Batths.
Court documents filed in 2017 to obtain a search warrant of the Can-Asia office in Surrey, the Batth's home in Langley and several safety deposit boxes, name the companies run by the four men as businesses of interest in the CBSA investigation.
Twenty-five other companies are listed in the document, along with 144 foreign nationals.
Alleged immigration fraud
The court document, filed by CBSA investigator Gary Sidhu, describes an investigation into two types of immigration fraud — schemes to help foreign nationals obtain temporary work permits and permanent residency using fraudulent work experience and credentials, as well as getting employers to "pad" applications to hire temporary foreign workers.
The "padding" of labour market impact assessments (LMIA) — which are often required in order for employers to hire temporary foreign workers — essentially creates jobs that don't exist. The non-existent jobs are then "sold" for the benefit of the employer or consultant.
Foreign nationals think they're buying a legitimate job but find there's no job when they arrive, according to Sidhu.
None of the allegations in the document used to obtain search warrants have been tested in court.
There are few clues, based on the charges listed for Toor, Singla, Kaler and Grewal, as to exactly what their alleged role in the broader alleged immigration fraud network may be.
Randhir (Randy) Toor, Desert Hills Estate Winery
Toor is the owner and president of Oliver-based Desert Hills Estate Winery. Unlike the other three businesses, Desert Hills isn't named in the court document, but "Toor Vineyards" — which doesn't exist — is listed. There's also reference to an Oliver vineyard that Sidhu believes is involved in labour market assessments padding. No vineyard aside from "Toor Vineyard" is mentioned elsewhere in the document.
Toor now faces 18 charges under the IRPA for alleged incidents between October 2015 and September 2017, as well as 10 charges of possessing a firearm without a licence or registration and one other weapons charge. His first court appearance is Oct. 21 in Penticton, B.C.
Surinder Paul Singla, Singla Brothers Holdings Ltd.
Singla is president and founder of Penticton-based Singla Brothers Holding Ltd, which specializes in real estate development, rentals and excavation. He's facing 10 charges for alleged incidents between March 2015 and January 2017.
Local media covered a CBSA raid at Singla's home in 2018, but until now, it wasn't clear if the search would result in any charges.
Singla's first appearance is also Oct. 21 in Penticton.
Ved Kaler, VK Delivery and Moving
Kaler founded VK Delivery and Moving, and now serves as its president. The company's website say it boasts eight warehouses, more than 60 trucks and at least 100 employees.
The company is named several times in Sidhu's document, tying it to nine foreign nationals of interest in the investigation.
Kaler faces six charges. He's set to appear in court Oct. 19 in New Westminster.
Gurtaj Grewal, Agiforce Security
Grewal is president and CEO of Agiforce Security in Surrey. The court document names Agiforce several times, including in one account from Sidhu in which a woman submitted an application for a work permit to be a security guard supervisor at the company.
Sidhu claims she said she had two years' experience in the field, when her other immigration applications said she'd spent nearly 15 years as a housewife and had no work experience.
Grewal has been charged with 10 counts under the IRPA. His first court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 15 in Surrey.
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With files from Manjula Dufresne