Immigration Lawyers VS. Immigration Consultants
There is a very significant difference between retaining the services of an immigration lawyer who has been recognized by the Bar Association of their practicing province, and hiring an Immigration Consultant or Agent. While lawyers of immigration pass several years of professional schooling and apply a dedicated focus toward their area of legal practice, immigration consultants must only be a certified member of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (“ICCRC”) – as of July 2011.
This certification was only implemented after years of abuse caused by individuals acting as Immigration Agents and, in some cases, processing immigration applications incorrectly or failing to complete and submit applications on behalf of clients who were paying exorbitant fees. In isolated incidents, applications were even falsified by the Agent, with simply the explanation to a client that the file was declined without explanation.
Unlike Immigration Agents who have a limited professional responsibility and risk, Canadian lawyers practicing immigration law in Canada must not only adhere to the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (“ICCRC”), but they must also answer to a much higher power, their Provincial Bar and Law Society. These governing bodies ensure that Canadian lawyers practice within a strict code of professional conduct and service, weighing severe consequences for lawyers who fall outside such guidelines. Unlike Agents or Consultants, Canadian lawyers have far more at stake when handling your trust and your immigration file.
Changes Brought To The Canadian Immigration Industry
The actions of unscrupulous immigration consultants, and the lack of regulation of the profession, have been detrimental to clients, to the consulting profession, and to the reputation of the Canadian Immigration program in Canada and abroad. As a result, Citizenship and Immigration Canada tabled new Regulations, which, among other things:
- define the meaning of “authorized representative”;
- specify that a fee-charging person who is not an authorized representative may not provide immigration advice, represent or consult; and
- require applicants using authorized representatives to submit contact information, the name of the organization referred to in the definition “authorized representative,” and their identification or membership number, if any, for verification purposes.
Because of these changes in 2011, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will not conduct business with consultants who are not members in good standing with ICCRC. Immigration officers now actively verify through a central database whether an applicant’s representative is authorized by ICCRC.
Contact Our Trusted Canadian Immigration Lawyers In Edmonton
If you are currently exploring the immigration process for you, a business, or loved one abroad, contact our immigration lawyers in Edmonton and let us help you through the process. We offer a money-back guarantee on our legal fees if you application has been declined, so your financial risk in application is minimal.
Posted on October 22nd, 2013