The ethical practice of Canadian immigration consultants
This week I will talk about how a Canadian immigration consultant should practice ethically and provide quality services in the immigration business. As we know good practice means satisfied clients.
First of all an immigration consultant candidate who wants to provide Canadian Immigration Services must be registered with the ICCRC (Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council). To register with the council the candidate first meet the five conditions. These conditions are;
1. Thorough knowledge of Canadian immigration and refugee law
An extensive course of at least 180 class hours must be taken through an accredited post-secondary institution and passed in accordance with a transparent standard set by the Admissions Committee. The course must have been completed within the past three years.
2. Full Skills Exam
A rigorous exam on immigration and practice management must be passed.
3. Good character
- The application procedure requires police certificates from countries of residence, in accordance with requirements set by the Admissions Committee
- A statutory sworn declaration is required regarding • Countries of residence, police certificates and criminal record • Bankruptcy • Suspension or expulsion from another regulatory body • Practicing immigration law for a fee while unauthorized, contrary to IRPA (in some cases interviewed will be administered to those that have violated IRPA in this regard to acquire further information).
4. Language proficiency in English or French
Results from an accredited language test are required to be submitted by every applicant to demonstrate language proficiency in English or French.
5. Status in Canada as a citizen, permanent resident or Status Indian
Proof of citizenship, permanent residence or Indian Status is required. (2)
When the candidate meets the five conditions he/she can register with the council.
After joining the council the immigration must act by the Canadian Immigration law and must obey the code of professional ethics.
Code of Professional Ethics
Now let’s have a look at the two vital articles on the Code of Professional Ethics.
An ICCRC member has a duty to provide immigration services honourably, and to discharge all responsibilities to Clients, government agencies, the Board, colleagues, the public and others affected in the course of the member’s practice with integrity.
An ICCRC member, as an authorized representative of individuals in the immigration and refugee system, has a privileged role to play in maintaining the integrity of Canada’s immigration system and the administration of justice. Despite any request or demand to the contrary received from any person, an ICCRC member must uphold the rule of law and act at all times honestly and in good faith towards immigration officials, without intent to deceive or undermine the integrity of the system, or assist others to do so.
As seen above a registered immigration consultant must serve honourably and must practice with integrity. Consultants should never breach the code.(2)
Quality of Service
Now let’s have a look at article 6 of the code “Quality of Service”
Maintenance of Quality Service
An ICCRC member must conduct all elements of practice in a conscientious, diligent and efficient manner, and provide a quality of service at least equal to that which ICCRC members generally would expect of a competent member in a similar situation. The ICCRC member must at all time use best efforts to:
- meet all applicable deadlines;
- conduct Client affairs in an efficient, cost-effective manner;
- communicate with the Client at all stages of a matter in a timely and effective way;
- engage the services of an interpreter when necessary;
- answer reasonable Client requests in a timely and effective manner;
- apply intellectual capacity, judgment, and deliberation to all functions;
- pursue appropriate training and development to maintain and enhance knowledge and skills;
- adapt to changing laws, requirements, standards, techniques and practices; and
- comply in letter and in spirit with this Code. (2)
While advising the immigration consultant also act by the code. The code that is related to advising is Article 7 – Advising Clients
Honesty and Candour Required
An ICCRC member must be honest and candid when advising Clients.
Restricted to Scope of Practice
An ICCRC member shall not undertake or provide advice with respect to a matter that is outside the member’s permissible scope of practice.
Avoid Corrupt Associations
An ICCRC member shall take all reasonable measures to avoid becoming the tool or dupe of an unscrupulous Client, person or persons associated with same.
An ICCRC member must exercise due care and not knowingly assist in or encourage:
- any dishonesty, fraud, crime or illegal conduct,
- the provision of misleading information,
- the omission of any required relevant information,
- counselling of a Client on how to violate the law or
- counselling of a Client on how to avoid punishment, but this shall not preclude the provision of information as to mitigation of possible sentence for breach of IRPA.
As can be seen above the council discussed all the details clearly for the Canadian immigration consultants to act in good way and practice effectively to satisfy the clients. Consultants that conduct in a good manner and who satisfies the sub-articles on Article 6 – Quality Service will satisfy their clients. Satisfied clients are very important for the sustainability of the immigration business.
- The Canadian immigration consultant must always act by the Canadian Immigration Law.
- The Canadian immigration consultant must always conduct the code of professional ethics.
- The Canadian immigration consultant must always advice/practice in honour and must not cheat.
- The Canadian immigration consultant must always maintain his/her knowledge and skills.
- The Canadian immigration consultant must always adapt the changing laws and requirements.
- The Canadian consultant that fulfills his/her duties as described by the council will provide quality services, will always be in good standing and will satisfy his/her clients.
Cem Devrim Turetken