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Don’t Be Fooled: Unqualified “Ghost Consultants” Can Seriously Harm Immigrants

Almost every business or service industry attracts unscrupulous and unqualified scammers who separate unsuspecting marks from their money by making promises that they can’t keep. This is especially true in areas where people are vulnerable, desperate or lack the knowledge to know that they are being taken for a ride.

Sadly, would-be immigrants to Canada are being preyed upon by unauthorised immigration representatives who not only take their money but also can leave their immigration status at serious risk.

Under Canadian law, only authorised immigration representatives can charge a fee to help someone apply for a visa to come to Canada. If a newcomer uses an unauthorised representative, their application may be refused and they could risk becoming victims of fraud.

As Bob Brack, the chief executive officer of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council, recently said: “Unauthorised representatives are not trained or regulated, and take money for services they cannot provide, which often leads to the refusal of applications that might otherwise be approved.”

There are serious penalties for unauthorised representatives who provide, or offer to provide, advice or representation for a fee in immigration matters, including a fine of up to $20,000, or up to six months imprisonment, or both on summary conviction as well as a fine of up to $100,000 or up to two years imprisonment, or both, on conviction on indictment.

If you are seeking help in pursuing your Canadian immigration goals, it is of vital importance that you only consult with an experienced and qualified immigration lawyer or a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC). Canadian immigration laws, regulations, and procedures are constantly changing. In fact, the Canadian government could pass a bill within the next few weeks which would dramatically change the Citizenship Act and make applying for citizenship significantly more difficult.

The services of a qualified immigration lawyer can be invaluable in ensuring that your immigration matter proceeds smoothly. Experienced immigration lawyers are familiar with the law and the process involved in cases like yours, and are in the best position to help you and your family make the move to Ontario or elsewhere in Canada.

Your lawyer can provide you with advice about immigration, answer your questions, and help you prepare and submit the appropriate application paperwork and documentation. A lawyer can even speak for you at hearings and court proceedings if needed. Retain an unqualified and unauthorised immigration lawyer or consultant, and you put everything at unnecessary risk.

It is easy to verify whether an immigration lawyer is in good standing and is qualified to represent you in your immigration matter or whether a consultant is authorized to provide you assistance. You can confirm a lawyer’s qualifications and status at the Law Society of Upper Canada’s website and you can search for authorized immigration consultants on the Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants’ website.

Don’t put your future in the hands of someone who may leave you with an empty wallet and broken dreams. Consult with an experienced Canadian immigration lawyer.

The materials provided on this site are for information purposes only. These materials constitute general information relating to areas of law familiar to our firm lawyers. They do NOT constitute legal advice or other professional advice and you may not rely on the contents of this website as such.

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