Jun 30, 2019 – Canada’s federal government has launched an information campaign in India aimed at tackling fraud and highlighting common scams linked to temporary resident visa applications.
Ottawa is running advertisements via newspapers, radio, Facebook, and Google in the Asian country during the month of June.
The campaign comes after 297,000 people visited Canada from India in 2018.
“As this number continues to grow, it is critical that applicants get the true facts on applying for a visa,” an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada statement said.
Many of the 975,000 temporary resident applications received by Canada in 2018 were submitted by unauthorised immigration consultants.
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Higher refusal rates for applications from India were due to an increase in the number of fraudulent applications, IRCC says.
Submitting false or misleading information can result in the applicant being banned from applying to come to Canada for up to 5 years.
“Canada continues to welcome visitors from India,” said Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen.
“This campaign will help applicants in India and their friends and family members here in Canada better understand and navigate the visa application system.”
Highlights of Canada’s Information Campaign in India
1) Applying Online Will Save Time and Money
- Candidates are being advised they do not need to hire an immigration consultant to apply. This is short sighted advice. Read why below.
- Candidates can save an extra trip to the visa application centre.
- A visitor visa application costs $100.
- There is no advantage to applying using a paper form or with a consultant. The same immigration officers make decisions on both online and paper visa applications.
2) Do Not Use an Unauthorized Immigration Consultant
- Many who claim to be immigration consultants are not authorized and take advantage of people by charging excessive fees.
- If using a consultant, make sure they are registered with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council.
- No consultant can guarantee a visa to Canada.
- Immigration lawyers provide a higher rate of success in applications.
3) Think Twice Before You Reapply
- A candidate should only reapply if they are able to address the reasons why their original application was refused and can show how their previous circumstances have changed.
- Reapplying multiple times using the same information, with or without an immigration consultant, will not change the original decision.
The information campaign states that candidates do not need to hire an immigration consultant to apply for Canada immigration.
However, the Canadian immigration authorities have stated previously that applications using a representative – particularly an immigration lawyer – have a higher rate of success.
Furthermore, Canada’s federal authorities only promote and provide guidance on federal immigration programs, which only represent a narrow part of the Canadian immigration landscape.
Immigration lawyers who are experts in the field are able to provide an invaluable and thorough evaluation of a candidate’s options in not just federal, but also provincial and territorial immigration streams.
Without such expert guidance, candidates face the prospect of missing an option that could be the difference between the success and failure of their immigration application.
What is the difference between hiring a lawyer and hiring a licensed consultant?
A consultant is any person called on to give advice. A lawyer (attorney, barrister or solicitor) is licensed to perform legal functions. These may include:
- Drafting documents,
- Interpreting and applying laws,
- Giving legal advice,
- Representing clients in court.
The practice of law is regulated by each of the provinces. A lawyer must have the following credentials:
- Bachelor of law degree from recognized university,
- Law admission examinations,
- Training under practicing lawyer.
The conduct of lawyers in Canada is regulated by the Professional Order of Lawyers (POL).
POL rules cover areas including:
- Separate trust bank accounts for client fees,
- Obligations of lawyers towards clients,
- Performance of mandates.
Breaking these rules can result in the loss or suspension of a lawyer’s license.
Anyone charging a fee to give advice on immigration must be a member of one of the following:
- Provincial or territorial law society
- Chambre des notariés du Québec
- Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC), which replaced the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC) in 2011.
The admission process for licensed immigration consultants in Canada is far less rigorous. Immigration consultants do not need the same education, nor are they scrutinized to the same standards.
A client not happy with a lawyer can raise a formal complaint with the POL, which has a fund to provide compensation for irregularities.
Immigration Consultant Regulation
Canada plans to overhaul its system for regulating immigration consultants by creating a new College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC).
The College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants Act, tabled as part of the budget implementation bill tabled on Monday April 8, 2019, will see the introduction of a new licensing regime.
The system will remain self-regulatory, as with the current Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC), created in 2011.
This, despite a parliamentary committee recommendation dating back two years calling for the regulation of immigration consultants to be brought under the direct authority of the federal government.
Under the act, the federal immigration minister will get new powers, including in the establishment of the code of conduct and in the formation of the board of directors of the CICC.
College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants Act
- Creates a licensing regime for immigration and citizenship consultants and requires that licensees comply with a code of professional conduct established by the minister, through regulations to be tabled by the government.
- Authorizes the College’s Complaints Committee to conduct investigations into a licensee’s conduct and activities.
- Authorizes the College’s Discipline Committee to take or require action if it determines that a licensee has committed professional misconduct or was incompetent.
- Prohibits persons who are not licensees from using certain titles and representing themselves to be licensees and provides that the College may seek an injunction for the contravention of those prohibitions.
- Gives the immigration minister the authority to determine the number of directors on the board of directors and to require the Board to do anything that is advisable to carry out the purposes of that Act.
- Gives the new regulatory body to hear complaints regarding licensed members under the former regulatory body (ICCRC).
- Fines doubled for consultants found to be violating rules.
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