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|» Canadian Immigration Consultants
Version Française ici.
News Release - Ottawa, June 8, 2010
Minister Kenney introduces legislation to crack down on crooked immigration consultants
For those thinking of hiring a Canadian immigration consultant, here are some facts you should consider.
To find out if an immigration consultant, lawyer, notary or paralegal is licensed to represent you or to provide you with immigration advice, you must first know which of these organizations they belong to:
- a Canadian provincial or territorial law society
- the Chambre des notaires du Québec
- the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council
Provincial and territorial law societies – Membership validation service
The contact details of Canadian Law Society of each province is available here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/representative/verify-rep.asp#consultants
Effective June 30, 2011, the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) is the designated regulator for immigration consultants. Immigration consultants who are members in good standing of the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants as of June 30, 2011, will be deemed members of the ICCRC for a period of 120 days. The transition period begins June 30, 2011 and ends October 28, 2011.
Current members of CSIC, in good standing at the time of ICCRC’s designation, will be able to continue to practice and won’t have to pay ICCRC membership fees throughout the transition period. During that time they will need to become members in good standing of the ICCRC in order to continue to provide their services after the transition period ends.For information visit their website or contact them at 1-877-836-7543.
Most law societies allow online searches to check whether a particular person is a member in good standing of that society. The Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick law societies do not allow this. To find out whether a person is a member of one of these associations, you must contact the law society in question directly. Paralegals regulated by a law society can provide you with immigration advice and represent you. Currently, only paralegals in Ontario are regulated by a law society) the Law Society of Upper Canada).
There are estimates of over 5000 non authorized "ghost" consultants operating in Canada, and untold thousands more operating in other countries. Some of the ghost consultants in Canada have convincing web sites with address and phone numbers, and in some cases may even claim ICCRC membership or use the ICCRC logo. So in that context, they appear legitimate but they are anything but. They often will accept their payments via a Western Union or Money Gram money transfer, or cash. Some will accept checks, money orders and bank transfers but will not supply a written receipt or a detailed contract. Some fake or shady consultants have also setup a second business such as job recruitment or some other type, and may refer their clients to that second business which in turn will be the one charging the fee.
Hiring a Canadian immigration consultant or adviser will not speed up you claim with Citizenship and Immigration Canada, in fact due to the level of unethical or fraudulent practices committed by people advertising their services as Canadian immigration consultants, hiring one of those could actually delay your application or get it rejected outright.
Many web sites will show a ICCRC logo or mention that they belong to ICCRC-The Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council, without mentioning the name of the supposed member or his ICCRC membership number as required by ICCRC.
Unless they can provide proof of their ICCRC membership, those consultants should be avoided for misrepresenting themselves.
To verify if a consultant is duly registered with ICCRC = http://www.iccrc-crcic.ca/public/membershiplistFull.cfm
If you hire a ghost consultant who files for you, any application or submission he may make on your behalf to Citizenship and Immigration Canada could be rejected. For that reason, some unauthorized consultants will take your money but never submit your application, simply informing you at a later date that your application has been rejected.
You can verify the current status of your application to Citizenship and Immigration Canada on their web site. You will need your identification number. If you paid a legitimate consultant to file for you, he will (or should) have given you such a number: https://services3.cic.gc.ca/ecas/?app=ecas&lang=en
Hiring a certified immigration consultant does not guarantee you ethical service either. Some can give bad or illegal advice which is likely to get your application rejected. Some are known to Citizenship and Immigration Canada for having in the past, advised their clients to lie on their applications. Hiring one of these guarantees extra scrutiny of your application and increases your chance of failure. The only thing that's absolutely guaranteed is that it will cost you money because successful or not, the consultant will have been paid.
According to the Toronto Star, there was a case of applicants who where advised by a paid consultant to apply under the refugee program for which they where not eligible, and that caused their claim to be rejected. Had they applied under a different program for which they where eligible, they could have succeeded since they already met the required criteria. The dishonest consultant to which they paid thousands of dollars actually caused their application to fail. They where deported.
You do not need to hire a consultant to apply for a refugee or immigrant status in Canada. The requirements and necessary forms are available on the web site of Citizenship and Immigration Canada - http://www.cic.gc.ca
Generally, the reputation of Canadian immigration advisers is rather bad. The profession has been plagued by fraud and misconducts for years. Victims of these vultures continue to pay the price. If you have been defrauded by a Canadian immigration consultant, you can file a complaint with the RCMP - Royal Canadian Mounted Police on this web site: www.recol.ca
If your consultant was a ICCRC member, you should also file a complaint with them at: http://www.iccrc-crcic.ca/public/com...Discipline.cfm
The services of an immigration consultant can cost thousands of dollars. Many web site offer an automated or personal "evaluation". Some are free while others charge up to $100 or more. These are often nothing more than money-making machines for the consultants. All it does is verify the required immigration criteria which are already available for free on the site of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. These free evaluations are often just a tool for catching new victims
en masses so they can then be "milked" for all their worth. In some cases, if an applicant clearly lacks the skills or other requirements needed, instead of being told the truth, that his chances of successfully immigrating to Canada are zero, he will instead will be charged further consulting fees for various vague "services". Ethics are a rare commodity with many consultants, both authorized and not.
The Toronto Star newspaper has done an intensive investigation on Canadian immigration consultants. If you take the relatively small number of individuals investigated and multiply by the number of immigration advisers believed to be operating in Canada, the instance of unethical, shady and even criminal activity is alarming. The Star's "Lost in Migration" series, which won a 2007 international Online Journalism Award in the public service category, can be seen at :
The Toronto Star noted that one reason many of these immigration advisers are successful is that they advertise in local languages to an ill informed population that depends entirely on the information supplied by these individuals, since the web site of Citizenship and Immigration Canada is strictly in English and French. For that reason, they have published a short list of advice in the following languages:
IMPORTANT - Note since those documents where written there has been a major change. CSIC mentioned in the above documents is no longer the regulating body having been replaced by ICCRC - http://www.iccrc-crcic.ca/home.cfm
Below is the English version:
TORONTO STAR - thestar.com
What you need to know about using immigration advisers:
You don’t necessarily need anyone to help you with your immigration application. Helpful information and all forms can be downloaded from Canada’s official immigration website (http://cic.gc.ca). Unfortunately, this information is in English or French only.
• If you decide you need help, you can retain either a lawyer or a registered member of The Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC), who will charge for their services. Consultants are not necessarily cheaper than lawyers. Lawyers do not necessarily do a better job than consultants. A lawyer or consultant who has a poor reputation with officials could damage your chances. Fees can vary a lot. So shop around. Ask other immigrants for recommendations. Talk to several potential advisers. Ask for references.
• You can also seek free help from a reputable not-for-profit group. Not-for-profit groups cannot ask for money beyond applicable government fees. (These fees are listed on the website at https://services3.cic.gc.ca/ols/ols.do?lang=en)
• Ask prospective advisers:
• Do they use an agent to complete the work?
• What qualifications and experience do they have?
• What services will they provide, and what are the fees?
• Are they authorized by a Canadian provincial or territorial law society, or the Chambre des notaires du Quebec?
• Do they belong to ICCRC?
• Beware of anything that seems too good to be true, such as very low service fees. That may indicate that little effort will be put into your case. Expect to pay $3,000 for help with an application requiring supporting materials, such as a refugee claim or a humanitarian and compassionate application, and less for work permits, visa extensions and family sponsorships.
• Negotiate a written agreement that says precisely what services will be provided and gives a clear breakdown of fees for each. Have the consultant or lawyer sign a retainer (form: IMM5476) that is available on Immigration Canada’s website. Make sure you keep a copy. It’s good to bring in a friend or relative who knows English or French to interpret.
• Never leave original identification documents with a consultant or lawyer.
• Ask for receipts and copies of all documents in your file. There is no good reason for a consultant or lawyer not to issue these.
• Never base a claim on lies, even if your adviser suggests it. It is your file, and you are responsible for what is in it. Remember that you are paying your adviser for a professional assessment of your application, not to tell you what you would like to hear.
• Be aware that Canada does not have an amnesty program for people here illegally. Be careful of anyone who claims something different.
• If you have a problem with your representative, you can file a complaint:
If the person is:
1. Not properly authorized to represent you in Canada: File a complaint with the Canadian Council of Better Business Bureaus (www.ccbbb.ca).
2. A local agent for a lawyer or a ICCRC member: Discuss the complaint with the authorized person, who is ultimately responsible for the services.
3. A member of a Canadian law society. In Ontario: the Law Society of Upper Canada (see www.lsuc.on.ca/public/a/complaints/ or call 416-947-3310 or 800-268-7568).
4. A member of The Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC): See http://www.iccrc-crcic.ca/public/com...Discipline.cfm/complaint_process"][/url]
5. A Quebec lawyer or notary: visit www.trouverunnotaire.com.
6. If your immigration representative committed an illegal act, such as submitting fraudulent documentation on your application, contact the Immigration office that is processing your file, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Sources: Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, various consultants, lawyers and immigrant advocacy groups; Toronto Star research.
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