Immigration officer guilty of work permit offenses

Sentencing adjourned for social inquiry report

An immigration officer who started a construction company was found guilty Thursday of five charges relating to work permits for an employee. He previously pleaded guilty to a sixth. 

Carlington Dawson, 32, was the owner of Blueprint Construction Repairs and Building Ltd. He was employed by the Immigration Department as an immigration officer during the time the offenses occurred – December 2010 to February 2012.  

Magistrate Kirsty-Ann Gunn handed down her verdicts after a comprehensive analysis of the evidence she had heard since the trial started in February. She found him guilty of making a false statement on two work permit applications – purporting that the worker’s occupation was in the capacity of a mason while knowing that his duties were those of a supervisor. 

Dawson was then found guilty of employing the worker as a supervisor without being licensed in that capacity by the Chief Immigration Officer. 

Dawson was also found guilty of receiving unlawful payments for a work permit from a worker in his employ – a sum in the range of $600 in early 2011 and then $1,150 in May the same year. 

The charge the defendant admitted was falsely stating on a work permit application form that the worker was receiving a salary of $1,800 and benefited from insurance, although he knew this information was false. He indicated that this was an error due to an oversight on his part. 

The magistrate said Dawson was a trained, experienced immigration officer. “He, more than many, would be aware of the importance of providing accurate information,” she pointed out. 

Dawson had denied that he needed a supervisor because the main contractors at job sites did the supervising. A Crown witness, who worked as foreman for a large contractor, gave evidence for the Crown that he dealt primarily with the worker in question and not with Dawson. 

Other evidence included business cards that Dawson admitted having printed. They identified him as the general manager of the business, and the worker as supervisor. In giving his evidence, Dawson said he put this on the business card only to make the business look more efficient. 

The magistrate indicated that the business card supported the worker’s evidence that he was expected to use his contacts to obtain jobs for the company and help the business grow. 

Defense attorney Richard Barton had suggested that the worker made false accusations against Dawson after Dawson had canceled his work permit, but the magistrate was satisfied the worker’s allegations were true.  

At the time of giving his evidence, Dawson was on required leave, with pay. After the verdicts, Mr. Barton requested that a social inquiry report be prepared prior to sentencing. The magistrate agreed and adjourned the matter until Feb. 25. 

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  1. About the only thing that surprises me about the current round of scandals involving immigration is that it’s taken so long for them to emerge. This is bluntly nothing new to me or anything surprising.

    Back in 2007 Net News uncovered a large amount of evidence that immigration officers were abusing their positions. This ranged from simple harassment of WP applicants (does it really need three blood tests to get your passport stamped?) to staff actively interfering in the WP process by acting as paid ‘advisors’ or helping out friends and relatives. In one case we had solid evidence that a visiting businessman had been detained at ORIA simply because he was in competition with an immigration officer’s brother-in-law.

    The reason that none of this ever went to print is that Net News was itself under investigation for blatant abuse of the WP rules. Interestingly, nothing ever happened about that.

    Was it quid pro quo? I don’t know but what I hope is that things will now change and immigration will finally cease to be untouchable.