Suspected illegal workers arrested in Halifax
Investigation into Israeli employees leads to 10 arrests
Border services agents and Halifax police raided a Clayton Park home and kiosks at three shopping malls Wednesday in a search for illegal Israeli workers.
A spokesperson for the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) said the raid was part of an ongoing investigation under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and 10 suspected illegal immigrants were arrested.
CBSA officials transported two women and two men to provincial court on charges of working without authorization. Sheriffs were told to expect six more.
In court, one man asked for an interpreter and will return by end of day Thursday.
The second man asked for more counsel and will return Thursday.
Both women pleaded guilty. One was authorized to work in Calgary and was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.
The other woman had been working at a kiosk at Scotia Square mall after arriving in Canada in August.
She had obtained papers to allow her to work but said she believes they were fake. She was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.
The judge said that if they were being exploited, it is far more reprehensible than working illegally. He suggested that Jewish organizations and the Israeli consulate offer assistance.
According to a five-page report by the U.S. ambassador to Israel, released by WikiLeaks in August, Halifax may be a single stop in a growing international scam that has sent young Israelis to Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the United States on the promise of $1,500 to $3,000 per week selling goods like skin care products in mall kiosks.
The ambassador wrote that workers are coached to lie to immigration authorities, telling them they are tourists or visiting family. Workers' passports have sometimes been held so that they cannot leave, and each worker is charged hundreds of dollars for their accommodations and forced to work long hours.
Many go home with very little money. Some of the people running the operations have been caught at airports trying to return to Israel with thousands of dollars of undeclared money stuffed into their luggage.