Along with the rise of demand for workers in Canada is the proliferation of different agencies offering advice, seminars, and other information regarding working and living in this North American country.
There are so many immigration consultancy firms nowadays that it is hard to tell if all of them really have the authority and proper accreditation to offer their services.
Here is a quick list of frequently asked questions regarding immigration consultants in Canada and the answers:
How will I know if an immigrant consultant is legal?
You can check if it legal by verifying if it is recognized by Citizenship and Immigration of Canada (CSIC). Bear in mind that Canada’s Immigration only allows the following to demand a fee in exchange for immigration consultation services:
• Immigration lawyers, regulated by a Canadian law society or the Chambre des Notaires du Québec and
• Immigration consultants regulated by CSIC-Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC).
An accredited consultancy firm should be listed at CSIC or at least be on the list of revoked firms. If your firm is not listed, then you are wasting your money on a ghost consultant.
To check if a consultant is duly registered with CSIC, go to:
To confirm if a consultant's membership has been revoked by CSIC, visit http://www.csic-scci.ca/find/revoked.html
As of this writing, there are more than 1000 authorized CSIC members. However this figure far outnumber the numbers the estimated 5000 non authorized consultants that are probably existing in Canada and innumerable thousands in other parts of the world.
If the application you submitted was done in behalf of a ghost consultant, then it will surely be rejected by the Citizenship and Immigration of Canada.
For this reason, ghost consultants usually take the money you will give them but will not submit your papers. What they will inform you later is that it has been rejected.
Do I really need the services of an immigration consultant?
A consultant is not required for your application for a refugee or immigrant status in Canada to be approved. Besides all the forms, information, and requirements are available at the Citizenship and Immigration Canada - http://www.cic.gc.ca website for free.
After finding out that my consultant is legal, am I guaranteed of an ethical service?
Speedy approval of your application is not guaranteed just because a certain immigration consultancy firm is authorized. What's certain is that you will pay them money for their services no matter what happens and most of them charge very high fees.
Furthermore, knowing that your consultant is recognized by legal doesn't mean that you are secured of an ethical service. Canadian Immigration consultants have a bad reputation in general because some of them would give bad advice that further jeopardizes a person's chance for the application to be approved. Examples of bad advice are telling an applicant to lie or give false information to the consulate. The bad reputation of immigration consultants may also be the cause for the rejection of your application.
Can I easily identify a fake immigration consultant?
A hoax immigration consultant is not easy to spot. Some are presentable and convincing enough because they have nice websites and offices. To identify them here are some of the clues:
• They accept payments via money transfer like western union.
• They do not issue a valid receipt for a payment received or give a detailed contract.
• Some consultants establish a job recruitment business. They refer their clients to te new business then charges a fee to the applicant.
How can I verify or make a follow-up on my application?
An authorized consultant who submitted your application should be able to provide you with an identification number. You can use this number to verify and follow up your application at the website of the Citizenship and Immigration of Canada.
Where can I file complaint?
You can file a complaint with the RCMP - Royal Canadian Mounted Police on this web site: www.recol.ca and at: www.csic-scci.ca/content/complaint_process
Be suspicious if you consultant charges very low fee as this is usually too good to be true.
Demand a written agreement with your consultant. The contract should clearly state the services that the consultant will provide and the corresponding fees.
The consultant have to signed a retainer (form: IMM5476) available on Immigration Canada’s website and you must secure a copy.
In submitting documents, only leave xerox copies to the consultant. The original copies are always yours to keep.
In all your transactions with the consultant, don't forget to ask for a receipt and keep them.
Sources: Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, various consultants, lawyers and immigrant advocacy groups; Toronto Star research.