March Is Fraud Prevention Month- Protect Yourself From Immigration Fraud

March Is Fraud Prevention Month- Protect Yourself From Immigration Fraud

For this month’s article I will provide you with some tips on how to recognize Unauthorized Canadian Immigration Practitioners.

Tip # 1 Titles and Diploma
Certain unauthorized practitioners may use titles that have different meanings but can be seen as interchangeable. For example let us use the title “notario”. Such a professional designation has nothing to do with notaire du Quebec, a lawyer or a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC). Those individuals who call themselves “notaries” are not authorized to provide immigration advice.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (ICCRC) authorized immigration practitioners who can legally offer you Canadian immigration advice in exchange for a fee. Namely: Members in good standing with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (RCIC), lawyers or notaries who are members of a Canadian provincial or territorial law society, or the Chambre des notaires du Quebec and paralegals in Ontario who are members of good standing of the Law Society of Upper Canada.

Tip # 2 Authorized Representative must be a member in good standing of ICCRC
A person who holds a diploma from an immigration practitioner’s program is not an authorized practitioner unless they are registered with ICCRC in order for them to provide Canadian immigration services in exchange for a fee.
Even if someone has taken an immigration education program he is not automatically authorized to practice. Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCIC) must be registered with ICCRC. To check if your representative is authorized, please go to and search by first or last name, company name, geographic location or Consultant Identification number (RCIC #). Click the “Contact” link for more information.

Tip # 3 Signatures and Forms
Beware if you are not asked to sign a Retainer Agreement.
Before a service is provided, a Retainer Agreement must be in place. A retainer agreement which is also known as the “services contract” or “contract” must be prepared by the immigration practitioner stating that they are providing immigration services for you in exchange for a fee. Both parties must sign and date the retainer agreement and you also must ensure that you have a copy of the signed Retainer Agreement.

Tip # 5 Use of Representative Form (IMM 5476). Beware if you are not asked to sign the Use of Rep form
The Use of Rep Form or IMM 5476 is required by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) even if the practitioner is a friend or family member, or if the practitioner is not charging you for the services.

Tip # 6 Signatures on the forms
You must review and verify that all information is complete and accurate before you sign it. Remember that you are responsible for the information on the form. Do not sign a blank form or forms containing false information.

Tip # 7 Beware of guarantees on processing time and approval of the application
No one can guarantee your application. There is no absolute processing timeline for any type of immigration application. Processing times can be found on IRCC website. No visa office or visa officer will ever give you a guarantee on your application.

Tip # 8 Job offer and immigration application at the same time
Job offers must first be approved by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). You must receive a job offer from an Employer in Canada who must submit a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application to ESDC. The LMIA contains information about the foreign national and the job offer. Even with an approved LMIA no one can guarantee a successful immigration application. The decision for any immigration application depends on the visa officer who is doing a comprehensive assessment of your application.

Tip # 9 Beware when a practitioner told you that he/she knows someone in the Immigration Department that can help with your immigration application.
Your practitioner may know someone in the Immigration Department. However, the Visa officer has the final decision based on the merit of your application. No one can influence the outcome of any application.

Tip # 10 Beware if your practitioner encourages you to lie on your immigration application.
You are committing misrepresentation if you lie on your immigration application. The penalty for misrepresentation is a five-year ban period from submitting any type of application to Canada. This will be part of your immigration record and may affect your ability to apply for any application to Canada.

If you have questions regarding the above article you may contact Marjorie at

Source: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC).

A word of caution: You should not act or rely on the information provided in this column. It is not legal advice. To ensure your interests are protected, retain or formally seek advice from a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) in good standing of ICCRC. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of the lawyers or RCIC’s.

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