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Home » Immigration

Six ways to avoid immigration scams

Submitted by on May 4, 2011 – 3:14 pm2 Comments

Immigration Scam photoLooking for help with your immi­gra­tion paper­work? Watch out for peo­ple falsely claim­ing to be “Immigration Consultants.”

The gov­ern­ment of Canada has recently begun crack­ing down on scam­mers tar­get­ing poten­tial immigrants.

According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, only the fol­low­ing peo­ple may charge a fee to rep­re­sent or advise you on immi­gra­tion and refugee mat­ters with the Government of Canada:

  • Immigration con­sul­tants who are mem­bers in good stand­ing of the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC)
  • Lawyers who are mem­bers in good stand­ing of a Canadian provin­cial or ter­ri­to­r­ial law society
  • Notaries who are mem­bers in good stand­ing of the Chambre des notaires du Québec

    The Government of Canada will not deal with non-​​authorized con­sul­tants who charge a fee for their service.

And a per­son or orga­ni­za­tion who does not charge a fee for their ser­vice may also rep­re­sent you.

But read on, as the rules may be changing.

Here’s how to pro­tect your­self against scam­mers:

  • Verify with the CSIC that your Immigration Consultant is a mem­ber in good stand­ing.
  • Check with the Provincial Law Society in the province where you’re plan­ning to immi­grate to ver­ify that your attor­ney is licensed.
  • For Quebec, con­tact the Chambre des notaires du Québec to ver­ify a notary.
  • Ask for refer­rals. Don’t just pick a name out of a list.
  • Visit their web­site. Does it look professional?
  • If some­one ask­ing for a fee says he/​she is an agent for a Canadian law firm or for a licensed con­sul­tant, then  con­tact the com­pany or per­son in Canada to make sure the claim is true.

Regulations have been pro­posed to replace the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants with a new reg­u­la­tory body. If this pro­posal is approved, the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) would assume respon­si­bil­ity for over­see­ing immi­gra­tion con­sul­tants. So check with Citizenship and Immigration Canada for changes to this information.

Scam photo by o5com (flickr)