What you need to know to avoid immigration fraud
Where are you getting your immigration information?
If you have received an unsolicited e-mail or phone call from someone claiming to be an immigration representative, it may be fraudulent. Unless you have already filled out an assessment with your own information, or have directly contacted a representative, you should be cautious. It is very unlikely that someone would reach out to you first.
When searching for information online, it is necessary to be able to recognize a suspicious site. If the website is showing a different URL in the browser address bar from the one you typed in, it could indicate a fake website. Any website asking for your information will display a lock icon in the address bar, and should start with “https://”. The “s” means the page is secure and the information you enter is encrypted.
Who is the Immigration Representative?
There are two kinds of immigration representatives that are legally authorized to represent paid clients through the immigration process: immigration lawyers and immigration consultants. Although they share similar roles, there are key differences to know about in order to verify that they are legitimate, and to be aware of their different services.
- Immigration Lawyers: must have attended law school and completed a three-year degree, they are also required to complete the bar exam and must be registered with a provincial bar association. They have several years of post-secondary education, and can represent you in the unlikely case your application is brought under judicial review.
- Immigration Consultants: are not lawyers, they generally complete a one-year certification in order to become registered with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory. Each Immigration Consultant has a seven digit ICCRC number which you can use to verify them. A consultant cannot represent you in court.
How can I be sure of their services?
It is essential to verify the credentials of your immigration representative to avoid being scammed. To verify the credentials of a lawyer you must look them up on their provincial bar association registry. If you are interested in an immigration consultant in Canada, you can search them through their ICCRC number.
There are some important red flags to be aware of when looking at an immigration representative’s services. If they cannot prove their authorization, or cannot clearly offer a way for you to confirm their credentials, you should be suspicious. As well, there is no way to absolutely guarantee the acceptance of an immigration application to Canada. Even if the case seems simple, the decision will always rest with the individual visa officer dealing with the case. Therefore anyone promising a guarantee for acceptance, or an accelerated path to approval, should not be trusted as this is not possible.
Finally, if an immigration service is asking you to pay to a personal bank account this should be a red flag. Legitimate lawyers and consultants will have a corporate bank account in order to transfer funds securely.
As Attorney Renaud Dery has said: “Don’t let yourself be taken advantage of. Making the right decision from the beginning will save you time, effort and money”. If you are concerned about immigration fraud you should speak with an authorized representative right away. With nearly twenty years of experience, Canadim offers expertise in Canadian immigration and personalized services tailored to you and your case.
To discover if you are eligible for Canadian immigration take our free online assessment and one of our legal experts will contact you to discuss your options.