Updated: Sep 8, 2020
The immigration process can be confusing and complex. Fortunately there are qualified people who can help. However, choosing the right person can sometimes be daunting.
Unfortunately there are individuals around the world who provide immigration services who are not authorized representatives.
Only authorized representatives are legally allowed to provide immigration services and advice.
Things to Keep in Mind
1) Know who is an Authorized Representative
Only some people can charge you a fee or receive any other type of payment for providing immigration services or advice. These people are called “authorized” representatives:
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCIC) who are members in good standing of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC)
lawyers and paralegals 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 Québec
The Canadian government will not deal with representatives who charge a fee but are not authorized. If you use an unauthorized representative in Canada or abroad, the government may return your application or refuse it.
Remember: if you pay or compensate a representative, in any way, in exchange for their services, the government will consider that a paid service, and therefore the representative must be authorized.
Find out how to check if your representative is authorized.
2) Beware of Fraud
Beware of representatives who:
advertise their services as free and later ask you to pay a fee
advise you to lie on your application
say they have influence over government decisions
It’s against the law to give false or misleading information in your application. Doing so can result in the applicant receiving a 5-year ban from Canada.
Learn more about:
3) Different Circumstances
A lot of times, especially in online forums or your friend groups, there are people who try to be helpful and provide you with immigration advice based on their own personal circumstances. They provide you with answers without fully considering whether your own situation exactly matches theirs. Although well-meaning, this can be dangerous advice.
History doesn't always repeat itself.
Immigration law, regulations, and policies are complex, dynamic, and constantly changing based on Canada's current needs. This is especially prevalent in economic immigration programs.
Someone's advice, even if it came from a lawyer/consultant regarding a past application, may no longer be relevant or may not apply to your particular and current circumstances.
A good consultant should always research current immigration laws and regulations before providing you with actionable advice based on your particular circumstances.
A friend, a relative, an online forum, or even an immigration professional who gives you off-hand advice based on a past or previous case, may be doing you a disservice if the policy has changed or the advice no longer applies to your situation.
DISCLAIMER: The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Information provided was correct at time of publication, however changes may have occurred since it was published. Please contact us directly for any updates or specialist advice specific to your personal circumstances.