I was at the hot dog stand waiting for my lunch when the guy next to me gave the vendor some change and asked if that was enough money to buy a small fries dish. The guy was a smartly dressed young Latin American carrying a shoulder bag and a laptop bag. There was a sticker on his bag which said inred letter “IMMIGRATION” and I figured he had just come from the airport.
I asked the guy “Not enough Canadian currency on you?”
He replied “No money. Period.”
I just nodded. ‘Oh boy, a scammer’.
He continued “I just got out of jail.”
All sort of warning bells started ringing in my head and I thought, holy cow!! An honest scammer. I have been hit by such kind before and they arereally good at extracting money from their victim.
I just nodded, trying to indicate that this is the end of the conversation.
“I was in the immigration jail for 4 weeks because apparently my papers were not in order.”
“So why were you sent to jail.” I asked and looking at the vendor with a plea to hurry up.
“That’s what I want to know. My work permit was unacceptable to them so they put me in jail while investigating and an hour ago they let me go.”
“So everything is ok then” I asked, intrigued.
He explained “No. My permit was cancelled. The company that issued the permit refuses to help so now I am in this country until the all the investigation is completed in a week or so and then my status will be informed to me. In the meantime I am told to fend for myself in this country
without taking up a job, without a place to stay, without friends. All I had was $20 which the immigration guys took away from me and pretend it was never in my bag.”
I thought ‘Man this guy is good, he has got his story all pat.’
The vendor tells the guy he is 10 cents short for his fries but he will overlook it.
For some reason I said “That’s ok, I will fill the remaining amount and I will buy a hot dog for the him as well.” I thought, damn it, even if he is ascammer, let him eat. It’s just three dollars.
And he said “No thanks!! That’s very kind of you but I will get by. Thanks for the offer.“
He took his small fries and left.
Not a scammer!! This was a true story. Man, I felt so stupid.
So, what have we learned today :-
* The Canadian government jails a guy for 4 weeks for a questionable work permit.
* Clears him and lets him into the country but tells him he cannot legally work pending full investigation which could take up to a week.
* If it is found that he obtained work to feed himself, his application status will suffer.
* The company that brought him into the country runs away for cover without so much as a question from the authorities.
At the moment the guy walked away from a lunch with his head held high but I wonder how long he will be able to do that. There will come a point were he has to swallow his ego and ask for help. Will he be a beaten man by then? What has immigration to Canada come to? I am waiting for a “goodimmigration” story from someone.