German family sues immigration consultant

A family of German immigrants facing removal from Canada is suing the Manitoba immigration consultant who handled their file.
Thomas Rost and his family members are quitting their jobs, selling their belongings and preparing for the possibility they may have to return to Germany. (CBC)

A family of German immigrants facing removal from Canada is suing the Manitoba immigration consultant who handled their file.

In September 2007, Thomas Rost decided to move to Canada with his wife Jena and their three children. At the time they didn’t speak English well so they searched online for help and turned to Star 7 International, an immigration consulting firm based in Winkler, Man.

Company president Adele Dyck, an immigration consultant, travelled to Germany in March 2008 and met with Rost, who paid her $6,000 for her services. Dyck found Rost a job and agreed to handle the family's immigration application.

Thomas Rost and wife, Jena, and their three children were advised by an immigration consultant to say they were coming to Canada as visitors, not to seek residency. (CBC)

A statement of claim filed in Winnipeg on May 27, 2011, alleges Dyck advised the Rost family they should not tell immigration officials they were planning on moving to Canada. 

Instead, according to the claim, the Rosts were advised to say they were coming to Canada as "visitors" and that they should apply for tourist visas on the plane from Germany. 

"She said 'no, no, you come here as a visitor. You're not telling somebody you're here to work, and we take it all from here. When you arrive in Winnipeg we take over from there,' " Rost told CBC News in an interview at his home near Plum Coulee.

Arrangement reached

During questioning on arrival at the airport in Canada in June 2008, Rost said, the family admitted they planned to stay in the country. 

'You know, we should have been smarter.'—Thomas Rost

That admission almost led to their immediate removal, but after some negotiation, an arrangement was reached that allowed the Rosts to stay.  The family had to drive to the U.S. border and apply for work visas upon re-entry to Canada.

However, the Rosts' problems were only beginning.

Thomas Rost had a conviction from a traffic accident back in Germany. He said he told Dyck the conviction might be problematic with immigration officials. However, he said, Dyck left that detail off the immigration form and assured him he shouldn’t worry about it.

"That's what you want to hear," Rost said. "You know, we should have been smarter — probably we should have asked for more information — but that's what you want to hear. And I mean, she must know. She is an immigration consultant." 

Ordered to leave

However, officials found out about the conviction and because it wasn't reported, the whole family was ordered to leave.

"You trust people, and you basically wait for your permanent resident card," Rost said. "You do not wait for a deportation order."

Because of the legal wrangling, the Rost family has had to prepare to leave the country several times since arriving in 2008.

A statement of defence hasn’t been filed yet, and Dyck turned down an interview request from CBC News, citing the fact the case is now before the courts.

Dyck is a member of the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants, the professional regulatory body for consultants in Canada until last month. 

Rost filed a complaint with CSIC in 2009 concerning Dyck’s handling of his file. A new agency, the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council, has just been handed regulatory responsibility by the federal government.

Community rallies behind family

Through it all, the community of Plum Coulee has rallied in support of the Rost family.

Jack Wiebe, Thomas Rost's employer at JKW Construction, said the family is dealing with a lot of stress. ((CBC))

"The circumstances that they've had to go under, you know it's huge. How do you lift everything up and leave, you know? I mean, that's not easy," said Jack Wiebe, Rost’s employer at JKW Construction.

Despite the help, the family members are once again quitting their jobs, selling their belongings and preparing for the possibility they may have to return to Germany.

They have a lawyer working to review the case with Citizenship and Immigration Canada but the clock is ticking: They might be deported before the end of July.