Facebook posts falsely claim Canada is issuing free visas to Ethiopians

  • This article is more than one year old.
  • Published on March 10, 2023 at 15:41
  • Updated on March 10, 2023 at 15:47
  • 3 min read
  • By AFP Ethiopia
A post shared on Facebook claims the Canadian government is offering free visas to Ethiopians. It includes a link that purportedly leads to an application form. However, this is false. Canadian authorities dismissed the claim, and the link opens up to a page promoting Android apps.

The post was published on January 26, 2023 and has since been shared more than 120 times.

“Do you want to travel to Canada for free and change your and your family’s life? If your response is yes, here is the best opportunity for you. You will need to fill in the form using your mobile phone, without being deceived by agents or incurring any expenses,” reads part of the post, written in Afaan Oromoo.

“You will win the opportunity for sure. Application can be for education visa, job, research visa, visit visa. Please click on the link below that provides the official free immigration page of the Canadian government, where you can find all visas in one place (sic).”

The post contains a link, purportedly to install and download an application to obtain a free Canadian visa.

Screenshot of the false post, taken on March 9, 2023

Another Facebook post shared the same claim.

According to a report by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), released in the second quarter of 2022, the number of Ethiopian migrants increased 48 percent compared to the previous year, mainly due to economic reasons but also because of environmental factors and conflicts.

There are about 44,000 Ethiopians living in Canada, according to the Canadian government.

However, Canada is not offering free visas to Ethiopians, as claimed in the post.

Scam post

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), which is the Canadian government’s immigration department, confirmed to AFP Fact Check that the claimed free visa opportunity outlined in the Facebook post does not exist.

“The claim is incorrect,” said IRCC spokesperson Isabelle Dubois in an email. “In order for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to issue a visa, all temporary residents including visitors and international students must meet the requirements for temporary residence in Canada, as set out in Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.”

Dubois advised those who are interested in applying for temporary or permanent residence in Canada to use the official “Come to Canada” website.

Similarly, the Canadian embassy in Addis Ababa also confirmed to AFP Fact Check that the fees applied to visa processing remain unchanged.

“There have been no recent changes to the fees charged for work and study permits,” the embassy told AFP Fact Check.

“As before, the study permit processing fees are $150 Canadian dollars and the regular work permit fees for applicants are $155 Canadian dollars”.

Unrelated Android apps

Instead of linking to an official visa application form, the post leads to a site with text that promises a free Canadian visa but then goes on to promote an Android application for jobseekers in Canada.

Screenshot of the website, captured on March 9, 2023

It also links out to a second Android app called “Canada Immigration & Visa - Ne”, but this only provides information on Canadian visa procedures and not a way to apply for them.

Written by Tolera Fikru Gemta
March 10, 2023 Country metadata was added

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