How to protect yourself from fraudulent immigration consultants & lawyers

08:32 PM | 22 Apr, 2019
How to protect yourself from fraudulent immigration consultants & lawyers
The government of Canada turned heads globally after the announcement that it wants to admit more than 1 million immigrants over the next 3 years. This announcement became a beacon of hope for many aspiring immigrants from different parts of the world.

In Pakistan, some people thought that the Canadian government’s policies on immigration had gotten more flexible and easier and so they started searching for ways for immigration to Canada. Upon doing these searches online, and also through word of mouth, many different consultants who claim to be experts of Canadian immigration can be found.

Most of these consultants have big fancy offices in posh areas, where some of them hang pictures of Canada as well as their law degrees. People go to these consultants and “lawyers” in the hope of realizing their Canadian dream, but how often do things go as expected? What goes wrong? Are these consultants really experts of Canadian immigration? Are you putting your trust and money in the hands of the right people?

As per Canadian law, there are only a few authorized representatives who can advise clients for a fee or consideration for Canadian immigration, citizenship and visas.

These are:

  • A member in good standing of a body designated by the government of Canada, which is ICCRC or Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council.
  •  A Canadian lawyer or paralegal who is a member of the law society of a Canadian province.
  • Quebec notaries.

So, the next time you meet an immigration consultant or lawyer for Canadian immigration or any sort of Canadian visa, please do confirm whether he is registered with ICCRC with an active status or not.

To do this, simply go to ICCRC’s website on this page and input the name or registration number of the consultant to see if he is authorized or not. Only Canadian citizens or permanent residents can be licensed to become ICCRC Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants.

For lawyers, ask for proof that they are registered with the law society of a Canadian province. The chances of a lawyer who is registered with the law society of a Canadian province and he is practising in Pakistan are very slim. Also note that a lawyer, regardless of where he has studied from, the even US, UK etc., is not authorized to give advice on Canadian immigration unless he is registered with the law society of a Canadian province.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the Immigration authority of Canada i.e. Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is a government department and it makes decisions on visa applications independently. Since this is an independent department, no consultant or lawyer can guarantee one hundred percent that you will get your visa for sure. This decision is not in the hands of the consultant or lawyer, this decision is only made by the visa officers and no one knows who the visa officer will be.

A licensed consultant or lawyer will try his best by giving you professional advice and preparing the right documents but never make false promises. That’s why ICCRC licensed consultants are forbidden from doing contingency billing or in other words telling clients that they will get a visa for sure and if they do not get it, they will not charge the clients. If someone offers contingency billing or assures you that you will get a visa for sure, he or she is most likely a fraudulent consultant and is trying to oversimplify things to make you part from your hard earned money.

In Canada, an authorized person who gives immigration advice for a fee or consideration may be fined up to $100,000 and sent to 2 years in prison. But unfortunately, outside Canada, there is still a great opportunity to identify and stop unauthorized immigration consultants and lawyers. Meanwhile, the consumers must educate themselves on how to differentiate between authorized and unauthorized or fraudulent consultants and lawyers.

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