The Sûreté du Québec (SQ) has uncovered a massive fraud scheme involving the exploitation of immigrants by employment agencies.

Early yesterday morning, a hundred police officers searched at least a dozen recruitment firm offices as well as private residences in the Montreal area.

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It is believed by authorities to be the largest fraud of its kind in Quebec history in more than a decade.

The agencies took advantage of unskilled, vulnerable immigrants, encouraging them to pursue undeclared work, and remunerating them at minimum wage.

The immigrants, in turn, were given the impression that the deductions from their meagre wages were going to the government. In reality, they were were being pocketed by the agencies.

In this way, the agencies deprived the government of roughly $1.5 million in revenue.

Most of the jobs offered by the agencies involved menial work, such as cleaning pigsties, assembling prepared meals, and picking fruits and vegetables.

The investigation began in September 2015.

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