ICCRC rules to be followed by immigration consultants in Canada
Immigration applicants in Canada are those individuals who are most vulnerable to become subject of exploitation by the unscrupulous and unqualified representatives. Applicants end up spending thousands of dollars without any fruitful results and they are totally frustrated and lose their faith in the Canadian immigration system. They are often given wrong advice; also kept in the dark about negative situations by some unqualified individuals who charge fees for their incompetent services.
Several steps have been taken to safeguard the interests of the public; ICCRC being one of them. ICCRC has devised many rules which have to be followed by the immigration consultants in Canada in order to represent their clients in a professional manner.
When it comes to unscrupulous consultants, ICCRC is doing its part already but at the same time public have to become a vigilante to identify and report such people. If every individual, wanting to migrate to Canada, makes a point about asking the consultant about his ICCRC membership, half of the problem will be solved. The public must ask to see the license in the physical form and then cross check it on the ICCRC website. All the necessary measures must be taken to establish the fact that the member is indeed a certified Canadian consultant before signing any retainer.
ICCRC can perform its part better by making the public aware of this all. Not all people have internet access and not all people are literate enough to understand the governing bodies and its working. The immigration consultants in Canada also advertise on the national and local media to attract new business; ICCRC should also make use of the same media to reach out to the public and make them aware of its presence.
The government of Canada spends thousands of dollars on medical, housing, child benefits, Employment Insurance, but I have not really heard much about any workshop which deals with the candidates migrating to Canada on work permits and study permits. A simple but mandatory workshop should be provided to each individual going to Canada on work permit or study permit which should make them aware of their rights as well as responsibilities. Many people do not know that their work permits cannot be renewed after four years if their permanent residence application is not in process. Free clinics should be provided to answer queries of these individuals. Though CIC has provided with a toll-free number but the waiting period on that line is awfully long. Moreover, the Canadian immigration representatives answering the call do not know the solution all the times. This step will definitely put all the consultants in a check because they would know that information is available to clients free of cost so they should better give the right advice!
Though there is a whole complaint process in place to ban/punish the ghost consultants but still there are no recourses available for the person who makes a complaint. This problem is, in fact with the ghost as well as with the members in good standing. For example, if a consultant had made false promises with the immigrant applicant for permanent residence in Canada in exchange for hefty fees and fails to deliver at the end; and the applicant does complaint about it; there is no recourse for him/her. He had already spent thousands of dollars; his work permit is ending in a month and he was on the hope that his Permanent Residence will be filed by the consultant before the end of the work permit. If the work permit of such a client is extended for some time until which he can find another employment for himself; CIC/ICCRC can see more complaints against unscrupulous representatives.
Another way to keep a check on these consultants is the execution of retainers. Public must understand that if a figure cannot be put on paper, there is some cheating involved! Every individual has the right to have the receipts of any fees paid as well as the track of hours spent on their applications by the consultant. ICCRC does have rules about keeping the clients’ monies in trust accounts but has anyone ever checked that how many are actually doing so? No doubt, there are situations when the representative is unable to get the results due to circumstances out of his/her reach; he/she should be able to refund fees to the client and only charge for time spent on that file. This can only be achieved if every file is considered carefully and a timeline is created for each step. Google timeline is a very good example.
Recently, Service Canada has introduced A-LMO under which only application has to be submitted but the proof of recruitment efforts has to be filed for audit purposes in future. CIC/ICCRC should follow in their footsteps i.e to perform mandatory audits of the Canadian immigration consultants and their businesses every two/three years for some time. ICCRC can indeed do random audits but these audits are so scarce that some consultants do not even care anymore. Stern and regular audit checks need to be put in place.
Public has to go hand-in-hand with the regulating body to nail the ghost consultants and help the immigration applicants to retain their faith in fair services and still keeping Canada as a country of choice for people all around the world for many years to come!