Published September 11, 2014 – 6:49pm
Last Updated September 11, 2014 – 6:49pm
A Halifax immigration consultant who helped clients lie on their Canadian immigration applications has been handed a conditional sentence of two years less a day and fined $75,000.
Ziad El Shurafa, 41, of Bedford pleaded guilty in April to five charges of counselling misrepresentation under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
He was sentenced Thursday in Halifax provincial court.
Judge Michael Sherar said immigration consultants are trusted and regulated to guide people from other countries through Canada’s “daunting” immigration process.
“(An immigration consultant) has a privileged role to play in maintaining the integrity of Canada’s immigration system and the administration of justice,” Sherar said. “They must uphold the rule of law and act at all times honestly and in good faith toward immigration officials, without intent to deceive or undermine the integrity of the system, or assist others to do so.
“And that’s what we have here today.”
Sherar said the courts must deter people like El Shurafa “from trying to deceive the system, trying to circumvent the system, trying to get (their clients) ahead of others.”
“They have to know that if they get caught, they will be punished,” he said. “The way not to get caught is to not commit the crime.”
The judge placed El Shurafa on house arrest for the first year of his conditional sentence. That will be followed by one year with an 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew.
El Shurafa is still allowed to work while he’s serving the conditional sentence and can travel to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for business purposes as long as he gets the court’s permission first. Continue reading