The role of the immigration consultant

The role of the immigration consultant can take many forms. From a simple application per user to the most important person in the world to a desperate foreigner.

A person can come to the consultant with filled out forms and ask

“Can you please go over these forms to make sure I filled them out right? Then I can mail them in.”

Another person can enter his/her office and say

“Can you please help me? I desperately need to immigrate to Canada. Tell me how to do it. Please give me any instructions I need to follow”.

Members of ICCRC require high standards of ethical behaviour and as such, in order to maintain their license, business, and income, they are required to honestly and adequately explain his/her role as a representative of Canada and of Canadian values. The demonstration of these values must be up front and honest.

From the outset, the potential client must be made aware that an ICCRC member cannot direct people to lie or misrepresent themselves. Our role is not to manipulate a system or bypass full and legal eligibility to enter this country, but to facilitate the entrance of honest applicants who would be a benefit to Canada. Dishonesty and ineligibility should exclude any potential client. If the ICCRC member loses their license due to impropriety, they lose their source of income. If the ICCRC member is found guilty of malfeasance, they could be faced with heavy fines and even jail time.

People will say that consultants just want to make money. Of course we do, but (with the new rules and regulations for ICCRC membership) the service we provide is also a service to our country, not unlike those who chose to enter the military based partly on the wages and benefits provided with that career choice.

Just as a real estate agent guides homebuyers and purchasers through a myriad of administrative processes, the ICCRC member can do the same for those who may not have the time, ability or desire to traverse the options and forms and all the other aspects of a request to come to Canada.

CIC encourages, for now, the use of its website for potential immigrants to access forms, rules, and directions specific to the goal of coming here. But unless the applicant is confident in their abilities and has the time to venture through and decide on the best opportunities that exist for immigration to Canada, they may find a less than advantageous approach was taken. This means, a foreigner may attempt to come here through one stream, but may not realize (or realize much later) that if they were assisted by a competent RCIC they could have been directed along another stream that would be more suited to their personal need to come to Canada expeditiously.

The role of the immigration consultant used to be exclusively as a representative of someone who wants to come to Canada. Now, under the new guidelines, the ICCRC member is also a recruitment agent for the domestic economy.

It’s no longer the consultants job to “arrange” for the client to come to Canada (perhaps using somewhat deceitful means), but, because of the potential penalties for unethical behaviour, we are forced to abandon those who would willingly suggest deception and lies in order to immigrate here. You could say the consultant used to be the agent for the non-resident, but now we are the “double agent” serving both client and country.

An important role for an ICCRC member is also the refugee representation aspect of the job. Although most refugee applicants have limited resources, some members willingly take on these cases if they themselves have the time and can afford the “pro-bono” aspect of the job.

There can be no more satisfying an accomplishment than to have a sincere and desperate refugee case administered with positive results based on the knowledge and efforts of a competent ICCRC member. Until such time as the government appoints a RCIC to every unsupported refugee claimant, as they do in many judicial cases with the appointment of paid legal aid, there will be many unfortunate repatriations of some poor and desperate individuals that may return to their original country only to “disappear” or continue a life of tribulations and sadness.

An increased effort could be made by the Canadian government to increase the role of the RCIC by requiring their use for all potential applicants to this country. This may be a boon for employment opportunities in this career, but with an increase in members, there would likely come fixed fee schedules that would incorporate fixed returns on each process (and variation thereof) which would result in the best ICCRC members receiving income based only on the type and not the quality of service.

The government needs to take a balanced approach on the role of the RCIC. Without being too bureaucratic and constrained, there has to be found a happy medium where the government expenses little funds to acquire a positive immigration result with minimal accusation of price gouging and negligible allegations of fraud or impropriety.

In a perfect world the role of the consultant would be to assist in the arrival of only the best and brightest into this country. Those chosen would work hard and pay taxes and provide economic stimulus at every turn. The RCIC would weed out the bad apples and never again will we see the influx of potential ethnic gang members, social service cheats, and environmentally unfriendly attitudes contrary to the Canadian axiom of “keep Canada green”. Our role would be to weed out the racists, the gender and sexual-oriented discriminators, and the abusers of children and animals (by Canadian standards).

That perfect world does not exist, so for now, the role of the ethical registered immigration consultant is to help those in need, including the taxpayer, while endeavouring to assist in the advantageous influx of responsible, honest and hardworking individuals.

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

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