An immigration journey can be a long and difficult process for many people. Preparing and submitting a Canadian immigration application is not easy. Although there are guides on the Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada website those guides do not offer you any tips and or tricks. They simply provide you with the application requirements.
When the application preparation process becomes too difficult many people decide to get help. You may have a unique situation which is not explained in the guides, or perhaps the legal terms are just hard to understand. Generally speaking most people go to their family and friends first, then they may seek help from recruiting agents, lawyers, immigration consultants, or some other third party.
There are many people who claim they can help you with your immigration application in Canada and internationally. Finding help may not be hard, but finding legitimate good quality help is. Fraudulent and scams are everywhere, therefore, it is important to know who can legally help you and act as a representative on your behalf.
What is a representative?
A representative is someone who may give you advice about immigration options, choose your immigration program, make your applications, submit your application, even discuss your application with the government. Basically they are a person who helps you with your immigration process. A representative may offer these services for free or for a fee.
Representatives are classified into two main categories: unpaid representatives and authorized paid representatives.
What is an unpaid representative?
If your representative is offering any immigration service for free they are considered an unpaid representative by the Government of Canada. Typically unpaid representatives are your friends or family who are helping you. They may also be a third party such as a non-profit organization. You do not need to pay to get help but be careful. When you are getting help from friends or family as they may not be able to give you expert advice, or know all the program requirements.
Just a member of your family or a friend was able to immigrate to Canada does not necessarily mean they know what is best for you. An unpaid representative should always be someone who you trust.
What is an authorized paid representative?
If you are being charged a fee for any kind of immigration help then your representative is considered a paid representative. According to the government of Canada all paid representatives must be authorized.
Canada has specific requirements to be considered an authorized paid representative. They must be a member of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council, a Canadian law society, or a member of the Chambre des notaires du Québec. So if you have hired someone to provide immigration services you should find out if they are governed by any of these three groups.
All authorized paid representatives in Canada are educated in Canadian immigration rules and regulations. They are also all regulated to ensure the rights of immigrants are protected, and that they are following all Canadian laws. Remember Canadian immigrqtion programs are regulated by Canada and anyone performing immigration services to help people immigrate to Canada must comply with Candian law.
All authorized paid representatives will request that you sign a third party representative form. This is the legal authorization stating that you give permission to another to act on your behalf and represent you to the Canadian government for immigration matters. This form is very important. If you do not sign this to allow another to act on your behalf then legally the agent or agency can not submit an application for you, discuss your application with the government.
If the person or agency you have hired to help you with immigration matters is not or does not have a professional on staff such as: an immigration consultant, an immigration lawyer, an immigration paralegal, or notary in Quebec. Then you have hired an unauthorized representative.
What is an unauthorized paid representative?
An unauthorized paid representative is a person who is charging you for immigration services which may include: offering you advice, choosing an immigration program for you, helping with application preparation, application submission, or answer government inquiries on your behalf, or act as you when dealing with the government of Canada.
These are people or agencies that are not properly regulated or licensed. They are not legally allowed to provide any of the Canadian immigration services mentioned above.Typically these groups will prepare your application and then you are required to submit it on your own. An authorized representative would never ask you to do this especially if you are paying for assistance.
Unauthorized paid representatives are more likely to be fraudulent or scammers. They could be over charging you. Making you pay for a job that may or may not be real, they could be forging immigration documents or worse. We have helped many people who have used an unauthorized paid representative in the past, and almost all of them have over paid and have had many problems on their immigration journey.
How do I know if my paid representative is authorized?
The best way to find out if you are working with an authorized representative is to contact the various governing boards in Canada. All immigration consultants in Canada are regulated by the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council, all lawyers must be a member of a provincial or territorial law society or the Chambre des notaires du Québec, and all paralegals must be a member of the Law society of Upper Canada.
These governing boards will let you know the status of that member also. If your rep is not listed as a member in any of these places then they are not legally allowed to offer immigration services.
If you have concerns about the actions of your authorized paid representative you can also report them. All immigrants have rights.
If you are not sure if you want help check out our articles called “Do I Need an Immigration Consultant” or “Differences Between Immigration Consultants & Lawyers”.
The immigration consultants at Immigrate are here to help you. Our goal is to provide you with amazing service and give you help you can trust. All of your consultants have 5+ years of experience and are members of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council.
We can help you get started on your journey, make you a plan, check any applications for you, or submit them on your behalf. We are here to you. We make immigration quick and easy.
If you custom immigration advice or get help with an immigration plan try booking an appointment today.