On December 13, 2003 the Canadian government first introduced legislative amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations setting the stage for the regulation of immigration consultants in the Canadian immigration industry. Subsequent changes were implemented into force under Bill C-35, on June 30, 2011.
Current rules require that all fee charging representatives, used at any stage of an immigration application or proceeding be a member in good standing of either a provincial or territorial law society, the Chambre des notaries du Québec or the recently created Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) which replaces the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC), as the self-regulating body for immigration consultants.
The current rules also regulates all professionals engaged in educational consulting representing students in submitting study permit applications, employment recruiters representing employers in submitting applications for Labour Market Opinion applications, work permits and related representations.
Enforcement provisions provide for penalties of up to two years imprisonment and/or up to $100,000 in fines for persons convicted of an offence under Bill C-35.
The Department of Citizenship and Immigration, the sponsor of the amendments, readily acknowledges that representatives can play a constructive role in assisting applicants in all matters before the Minister, an officer or the IRB. Recent studies provide empirical evidence which confirm higher approval rates of applications represented by immigration professionals.
The government’s objective in introducing these amendments is therefore intended to protect applicants from unscrupulous representatives while preserving the integrity of Canada’s increasingly complex immigration system.
Readers who require additional information are invited to communicate with Colin R. Singer, Attorney – [email protected]