- A Filipino-Canadian was sentenced to prison for illegally recruiting workers and collecting fees from them
- Most of her victims were fellow Filipinos whom she hired under false promise of obtaining a work permit
- Jennilyn Morris is the first in Alberta to be convicted under the Immigration Refugee Protection Act
A Filipino-Canadian was arrested and sentenced to two and a half years in prison for defrauding and illegally recruiting more than 70 individuals to work; most whom were fellow Filipinos.
Jennilyn Morris, who began work in Canada as a a live-in caregiver before becoming a permanent resident in 2001 and later, a full-fledged Canadian citizen in 2008, pleaded guilty to hiring foreign workers illegally and to inducing them to migrate to Canada under false pretense and communicating false information.
She was also ordered to pay $22,000 as compensation to her victims. She has also become the very first person in the province of Alberta to be charged and convicted under the Immigration Refugee Protection Act.
One of the Filipinos who fell victim to her scam, Francisco Baquiran, arrived in Alberta under a promise of being hired for a job, even if he was still under a visitor visa at that time. Baquiran was forced to work under Morris and was deducted fees for the processing of the labor market opinion (LMO) which was a requirement to eventually obtain a sponsored work permit.
However, Baquiran never received his work permit despite working for Morris.
“Unang naging trabaho ko sa kanya sa printing press. Tapos pinatrabaho niya ako bilang dishwasher tapos nag housekeeper later on nung nahuli na ako pinaobliga pa rin akong mag trabaho sa restaurant niya. [The first job I had under her was in a printing press. Then she let me work as a dishwasher and then as housekeeper and later on when I was found out, she obliged me to still work in her restaurant],” Baquiran told ABS-CBN News.
Baquiran, who has become a government witness, is grateful for the court decision. However, he still hopes to get legal status to work in Canada.
“Para sa akin, maganda na ‘yong nangyari na hinabol siya ng gobyerno dahil sa pagsasamantala niya sa kagaya ko at saka sa iba pang kapwa Pilipino. Wish ko sana dahil nga sa ako’y natatakot na pagka bumalik sa Pilipinas ako’y papayagan nila na maging permanent resident. [For me, it was good that the government was able to chase after her because of the fraud she committed to others, especially to fellow Filipinos. I just wish that since I am afraid to go back home to the Philippines, they would allow me to become a permanent resident],” he said.