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Immigration consultants: good practice = satisfied clients

A good immigration consultant would honestly explain to the prospective client the reality of their application proceeding to the next level. If the application appears that it will likely not be processed positively and in a timely manner, the client should be made aware of the reasons why. If you get clients that have paid a lot of money only to be turned down by CIC and are not satisfied with the reasons, then they will tell their friends and family that your practice is nothing but a money grab.

They must be convinced that their rejection is not the fault of the consultancy, but that of either the CIC (by changing rules or freezing intakes, etc.), the client (there was not full disclosure in the application), or perhaps third party interference.

Word of mouth is a primary reason for a consultancy’s success. Leaving a client disgruntled is not an avenue to business prosperity. It is also important that less than ideal clients leave the office (after being told their chances of coming to Canada are very slim) knowing that they had been dealt with honestly and respectfully.

It is important that the consultant be a “people person”. It is equally important that the RCIC’s staff be oriented this way also. We are not selling used cars here. Honesty, integrity, and respect for the “customer” is paramount. They’re not looking to buy a car, they’re looking to change their entire life by seeking immigration to Canada.

If there ever was an occupation that required the utmost level of honesty and integrity, the immigration consultant is that profession. Just ask Jason Kenney. His efforts to clean up the fraudulent and deceptive practices of many consultants is just common sense, both to the immigrant and to Canada as a whole.

An immigration consultant should set an example for the country to which he/she represents. The corruption perceptions index1 indicates Canada, compared to other nations, is a principled one. This means that dealing with a client must be expected to be upfront, honest and fair. However, when dealing with an immigration consultant from say Somalia, the claimant should be prepared to bribe and deceive their way into that country.

The examples of the fraud and deception that has been in the headlines over the past few years has reflected badly on Canada. Our placement among the nations incorporated in the CP index shows that our overall system could stand some improvement. The efforts by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to create new rules, regulations and penalties shows a sincere effort to raise Canada’s position on that index.

It is obvious that if Canada is known to be soft on crime, it will attract criminals. If Canada is known to be soft on economic refugees, it will attract them. If Canada is known to respect peoples of different races, genders, orientations, etc., then those of liberal attitude will be attracted to our nation. If Canada is seen to be the land of promise for those willing to work hard, honestly, and with respect towards their fellow citizens, then those people will be attracted to this country as well.

An unethical consultant contributes negatively to the industry by making Canada seem a less desirable place to live because, as a Canadian citizen, they reflect poorly on the citizenry as a whole with their unethical ways. Consequently, honest and hard-working people wanting to emigrate will choose a “better” country with equivalent or less-expensive consultants available to help them. In other words, if the consultancy is known to be upfront, honest, and fair… just like Canada… then the client will be willing to pay a “premium” for his/her services knowing that success in a great country like ours only requires hard work, honesty, and respect.

It’s okay to regard Canada as a paradise on Earth, but let’s not fool our clients. There are wonderful aspects to this country that are not so different from many countries around the world. In this way, the consultant is a salesman, out to sell the benefits of Canada but at the same time portray enough honesty so that the successful immigrant is not too disappointed in their life here. For instance, a successful immigrant may condemn their consultant for not telling them that there are things in this country that they cannot tolerate: An American client must be told of the restriction here on personal weapons, if they feel they have a need to possess them. A client holding on to certain cultural beliefs must be told of the serious actions this country takes towards gender-related abuses and rights. A citizen of a nation low on the CP index must be informed of the stern response Canada and Canadians take towards bribery and tax evasion.

Every human being, I believe, has an inherent desire to succeed with integrity. The Canadian immigration consultant should portray and encourage that aspect of humanity, and the result will be a client that feels he/she was dealt with fairly and will subsequently encourage others to use their representative’s services. In the same vein, the consultant should abandon, discourage and inform on those deceptive individuals that want to come to this country only to take advantage of the citizenry through crime, slovenliness, general disregard for the social welfare system, or purveying and promoting attitudes contrary to what makes this nation tolerant and great. A good consultant has to be able to turn down the big bucks offered by less desirable immigrants.

Reputation is key. If the reputation is that of a consultant that preys on the dreams of desperate emigrants, then their practice will be known for a “take the money and run” approach. If the reputation is that of bringing in undesirables to this country, then more and more of the same will be knocking at their door, until the consultant is caught and penalized. If the reputation is one of bringing in immigrants and their families that are hardworking and good citizens, then that consultancy will be known for being an example of all that is good about Canada.

A good consultant must not only have satisfied clients but also be proud of his/her efforts to bring people of integrity into this nation that is world-renowned for its “just society”.

William Howie
Immigration Program Student at Ashton College
under the tutelage of Jose Godoy Toku


References:

1 Corruption perceptions index 2010

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