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Canada announces plans to create new regulatory body for immigration consultants

This week the Canadian government announced a proposal to create a new organization to provide better oversight of immigration consultants. The new organization, the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC), would attempt to crack down on fraudulent and exploitative immigration consultants.

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The government’s announcement is in response to a growing number of complaints against immigration consultants who have scammed hopeful applicants out of their money. A recent example is the police investigation of an alleged immigration consultant in Winnipeg, Manitoba, who disappeared with thousands of dollars in client payments.

The proposed actions are intended to protect Canadians, newcomers, and legitimate immigration and citizenship consultants who are working in good-standing with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC). The College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants would act as the official watchdog of consultants across the country. The CICC would replace ICCRC to become the only organization overseeing the licencing and regulation of immigration consultants.

In the announcement, the government states that the CICC would develop new education and training requirements for immigration consultants, as well as providing more transparency in fees and a more effective system for submitting complaints. While the creation of the CICC has a lot of potential, this would be the third organization created in the last decade which is designed to oversee immigration consultants. Only time will tell whether the CICC could be more effective than ICCRC and the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC) which was replaced by ICCRC in 2011.

Who can I trust?

The immigration process can be complicated, so many hopeful newcomers choose to work with an expert on their application. As the immigration process requires an investment of your time, money and resources, it is of the utmost importance to hire a representative who is legitimate and accountable.

In Canada, there are only two types of paid representatives who are legally authorized to represent your immigration case: immigration lawyers and consultants. Anyone claiming to be recognized in these roles must be able to prove their licensing and registration. All immigration lawyers must be registered with their provincial Bar Association, and all consultants must be in good standing with ICCRC.

Immigration Lawyers vs Consultants

To be recognized as a lawyer in Canada, one must successfully complete a three-year law school degree, and pass the prestigious bar exam. Be sure to verify the status of any immigration lawyer by checking with their provincial bar association. For example, Attorney Renaud Dery’s credentials can be viewed on the website for the Quebec Bar Association.

Immigration consultants undergo significantly less education and training compared to lawyers. Consultants do not attend law school, instead completing a one-year certification in order to become registered. It is not required for a consultant to complete an undergraduate degree to start their certification. All legitimate immigration consultants are registered with ICCRC, and will have a unique seven-digit ICCRC number. However, the proposed launch of the CICC would change this registration process.

At Canadim we know the best protection against immigration and citizenship fraud is to learn how to recognize and report it. Don’t let your time, money and resources become vulnerable to fraud by ensuring you can spot and avoid immigration red-flags.

Interested in learning more about your options for Canadian immigration? Complete our online free assessment and a member of our team will be in touch with you shortly!

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