Is My Immigration Consultant a Fraud?

Did you know that in 2018 Canada’s immigration authority, IRCC, received nearly a million temporary resident applications? 975,000 applications for visitor visas or other temporary resident visas, to be exact. That was a 60% increase over the previous year when IRCC received about 609,000 temporary visa applications.

Do you know why there was such a dramatic increase in these applications? In a recent news release, the Canadian authorities state the following:

Many of these applications were submitted by unauthorized immigration consultants. This is linked to an increase in fraudulent applications and higher refusal rates for visa applications from India.

This means that if you are a resident and/or citizen of India and are thinking of applying to visit Canada, you may be targeted by fraudulent immigration consultants in India who may falsely promise you a successful application. It is vital that you be aware of this problem and that you take steps to avoid becoming a victim of an immigration fraud.

Here’s how to avoid these types of scams:

You don’t necessarily need a consultant to apply for a visa

This is especially true if you:

  • Have a computer, laptop or other device which is connected to the internet. You can apply online and submit necessary documents online by scanning them with a scanner or digital camera.
  • All the steps necessary to apply can be found at the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) website. Go here to start the process of applying for visitor visa.
  • Submitting a paper application will NOT improve your chances of obtaining a tourist visa. The Canadian immigration authorities will review the information in the same manner to come to a decision, regardless of whether it arrives in paper form or online.

If you want to use a Consultant, hire an RCIC

If you wish to use a professional immigration consultant (anyone you pay to advise and/or assist you with the application process) to ensure you apply correctly, you must check that they are a Canadian-based Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) in good standing with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC). Go here to see whether the consultant you wish to use is listed. If they are not listed, do NOT use their services. They are not authorized to advise you on immigration to Canada.

What can an IRCC bill you for?

An authorized immigration consultant is allowed to charge a fee for services related to applying for a visa or any other immigration application, including the following:

  • Provide immigration advice,
  • Assist with filling out an immigration application – including dealing with any required documentation,
  • Communicate with the Government of Canada on the applicant’s behalf.

They can NOT guarantee that your application will be successful. What they do is ensure you apply correctly with all the required documentation which gives you the best chance possible of being accepted. But it is Canadian immigration authorities who make the final decision based on the information you provide them.

An honest immigration consultant will tell you what you have to change regarding your personal situation in order for your application to have a better chance of succeeding. They cannot guarantee you a successful application, however. And they should not encourage you to re-apply if your situation has not changed.

Things to be aware of

  • Do NOT let an immigration consultant in India (who may be fraudulent) convince you to change your personal information or documentation. This is a serious error and if discovered could lead to you being banned from applying to Canada for at least 5 years.
  • Do NOT let an immigration consultant convince you that you can use a visitor visa (tourist visa) to work in Canada.
  • To legally apply to work in Canada you will need a temporary work permit and if you meet a set of conditions and have a provincial sponsorship or a permanent job offer in certain occupations, a permanent resident visa. These involve more complex applications where you may consider using an authorized Canadian-based immigration consultant.

Remember there are two main reasons why a visitor visa application is rejected:

  • Immigration authorities do not believe that you will leave Canada when your visitor visa expires. OR
  • Immigration authorities have classified you as inadmissible to Canada.

Do NOT re-apply unless your situation has changed. In other words, unless the reasons for which your previous application was rejected have changed, applying again with an immigration consultant will NOT change any previous decision on your application.

Here are some examples of reasons why your application might have been rejected and where your situation has since changed, allowing you to reapply:

  • You have applied for criminal rehabilitation and were approved.
  • You are eligible for deemed rehabilitation.
  • The medical reasons for which you were inadmissible have changed.
  • You are applying for a temporary resident permit which is not the same as visitor visa.
  • You may need to consult with a Canadian-based immigration consultant in order to understand the above-listed examples and to find out whether your situation has changed enough to allow you to re-apply.

What to do if you think your consultant is a fraud

If you suspect that you are dealing with a fraudulent consultant, go here to see how to report the fraud to the government of Canada.

If you wish to change or cancel your immigration consultant, you should use a Use of a Representative form. Go here to find out more information.

Remember it is your responsibility to ensure your immigration representative is a legal, authorized immigration consultant. Taking the time beforehand to check on any consultant you wish to use, will save you a lot of time and trouble when you apply for a visitor visa.

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