To get help regarding immigration application, many people tend to hire consultants or representatives. However, not many know the rules and their rights such as how to protect them from fraud or misleading information, how to file complain against immigration consultant or its staff. Not surprisingly, all of these details are available on Canada Immigration website.
In this blog, I have tried to summarize information and have shared valuable links to guide you what steps applicants can take in some unwanted cases.
Who can act as Immigration Consultant / Lawyer
Any person or company, who represents your case on your behalf and have similar access to your confidential information sahred with CIC, is termed as Representative (or Consultant). However, not anyone you hired to look after your case may be an authorized representative. Representatives are categrized in two types based on the condition whether fee is charged for services or not i.e Paid Representatives and Unpaid representatives.
Paid representatives are also called authorized representatives and generally includes (1) Lawyers and Paralegals, (2) notaries, (3) immigration consultants.
1. Lawyers and paralegals acting as representative should be member of Canadian Provincial Law Society and in good standing.
2. Notaries should be member of good standing of Chambre des notaires du Québec,
3. Immigration consultants should be member of Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC)
Includes friends, family members or third person who provide same consultation as paid representative but does not charge any fee. No authorization from above three societies is required for an unpaid representative.
Check point- 2
How to choose a representative
- Check whether your representative or consultant is authorized or not. If you pay for services, representative must be authorized for your application to proceed
Inquire about his training, past experience, clients, history, credentials, registration with any of the societies mentioned above, references
Discuss type of services to be expected and fee that they will charge for each step or process
Ask for written contract or agreement categorically mentioning scope of work and fee
Checkpoint – 3
Appoint, Change or Cancel representative
Checkpoint – 4
Option to use a representative
Candidates or applicants are not required to apply through representative for Canada Immigration. It is an option only. Each and every information is available on the CIC website, therefore, use of consultant is discretionary only.
Checkpoint – 5
Complaints against Consultant
Canada Immigration laws with respect to representative is strict and requires strong adherence to code of conduct by immigration consultants. Each year several cases are being dealt with that constitute complaints against consultants.
Checkpoint – 6
Beware of Fraud
Checkpoint – 7
General Guidelines to suspect fraud
- some one is pushing for urgent payment
- not ready to document contract
- making claims that are not supported by known facts
- not providing response on timely basis
- calls too frequent to hire their services
- does not have permanent office or website