Promised jobs never came

The Supreme Court of British Columbia has certified a class-action lawsuit against Mac's Convenience Stores and three immigration consultants alleged to have collected thousands of dollars from foreign workers who were promised jobs that didn't exist.

A written decision posted Tuesday says the case involves employment contracts for work at Mac's stores in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories under Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker program.

The decision says four representative plaintiffs paid up to $8,500, only to arrive in Canada to learn there were no jobs at Mac's, they couldn't work elsewhere and their money would not be returned, the decision says.

The plaintiffs represent about 450 workers, including Prakash Basyal, a Napalese man who was recruited at a job fair in Dubai.

Basyal says in an affidavit that he met immigration consultant Kuldeep Bansal at a recruitment fair in the summer of 2012 and was told he'd be guaranteed a job in Canada if he paid $8,000.

Bansal arranged for him to be interviewed in Dubai by a Mac's representative in November 2012 and again in February 2013 by phone, Basyal says in the document, adding he signed an employment contract a month later to work at a Mac's store for two years at a wage of $11.40 an hour.

Overseas Immigration Services, Overseas Career and Consulting Services, and Trident Immigration Services are named as defendants in the lawsuit, and the decision says they are related companies controlled by Bansal, whose sister is the sole director of Trident.

Basyal's affidavit says he arrived in Vancouver and received a permit allowing him to work at a Mac's store in Edmonton.

"In or around May 2014, Mr. Bansal told me that there was no work for me as a cashier at the Mac's store in Edmonton," Basyal says in the affidavit. "He told me that he would send me to work on a farm for a few months. I refused."

As a temporary foreign worker, Basyal was not authorized to work elsewhere, he ended up working at a bottle depot in Calgary where he was picked up by Canada Border Services Agency for working illegally.

"I felt humiliated and fearful when the CBSA officers detained me because I had never been placed in handcuffs or arrested before and had no idea what was going to happen to me," Basyal says in the affidavit.

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