Unfortunately, newcomers to Canada are targeted for various types of fraud and immigration is one of them. In an effort to curb unauthorized (i.e. illegal) representatives providing services, CICC has teamed up with the Competitive Bureau, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre in creating a robust awareness campaign to educate the public on immigration fraud.
“We have developed a great partnership with the High Commission of Canada in India and continue to expand our outreach with other foreign missions. This has resulted in increased awareness of the College at a ground level,” said John Murray, President & CEO of the College in a Press Release issued by CICC. “It can be a challenge to get our message to communities in foreign jurisdictions, so we are pleased to have this relationship with the High Commission. It is important that we reach audiences that really need to hear our message so that they can take steps to protect themselves against fraudulent actors.”
Despite the numerous consumer protection agencies that exist in Canada, illegal representatives still make a living off providing services to immigrants usually under false pretenses. Here are some things to look out for when engaging with an immigration consultant:
1. Guarantees and promises
An authorized representative cannot and should not promise that an application will be approved. Not only is this against the CICC Code of Professional Ethics but results are never guaranteed even with the strongest of applications.
2. Citing "special connections" inside the government
Beware if a representative tells you they have a special connection (friend or family member) who work at IRCC and can fast track your application or give a favourable outcome. Although some consultants have had previous careers at IRCC, this cannot be used a method of recruiting clients or promising results.
3. Contingency billing
“Money back guarantee” doesn’t apply to immigration files. “Contingency billing” means when payment or partial payment is due only upon a successful decision by the government which is not allowed in an RCIC’s practice. An RCIC charges for the process, not the result.
4. Suggesting you omit relevant information to help your file
Withholding material facts from an application can have serious consequences for a file. If your consultant suggests you omit information, you should ask why and how it will affect your application.
5. Are they licensed?
You can check the public registrar here and search their name and business.
6. Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork
A licensed consultant is required to present you with a retainer agreement outlining the terms and conditions of the client/consultant relationship. This will include billing method, payment terms, roles and responsibilities, among other things.
While stakeholders are taking steps at eliminating the ghost consultant business, it is still the ultimate responsibility of the client to make sure they are asking the right questions and ensuring their practitioners are licensed.