Posted by: Daryl & Wendy Ashby | May 17, 2011

Six Ways to Avoid an Immigration Scam

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

However 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.

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