Individuals who charge for representation on Canadian immigration files must be authorized to do so. If an individual is not properly authorized, it is illegal for him or her to charge another person for representation.
See below for information on performing due diligence when retaining the services of a Canadian immigration representative, as well as information on detecting fraudulent job offers.
Legal representatives and consultants may provide services such as the review, preparation, and submission of documents, and communication with provincial and federal governments.
The Decision to Engage a Representative
Individuals considering immigrating to Canada should note that hiring a lawyer, consultant, or representative is not required in order to apply for Canadian permanent residence or a temporary permit in Canada, such as a study or work permit. The system is designed so that individuals and families may undertake the application process by themselves.
However, many people find that a legal representative can provide valuable assistance with documents, eligibility, and any other issues that may arise during the processing of an application.
In certain cases, such as the improper refusal of an application or unreasonable delays in processing, an individual may consider making an appeal to the Federal Court or Immigration Appeals Division. In such a situation, it may be wise to consult an authorized immigration lawyer or consultant.
Before engaging a lawyer or consultant, it is important to verify that the individual or firm is properly authorized by the relevant authority.
- Citizenship or immigration consultants must be a member of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC)
- Lawyers or notaries must be a member of a Canadian provincial or territorial law society, or the Chambre des notaires du Québec.
- In Ontario, paralegals must be members of the Law Society of Upper Canada.
Individuals who are considering engaging a representative are advised to check online to see if a member of a society is in good standing.
Obtaining a job offer in Canada is an important step of the immigration process for many potential immigrants to Canada. Certain Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) require a potential applicant to obtain a job offer in order to become eligible for provincial nomination. Furthermore, candidates in the Express Entry pool with a qualifying job offer may obtain 50 or 200 points under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Consequently, a qualifying job offer can improve a candidate’s chances of receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian permanent resident status.
Unfortunately, scammers have been known to take advantage of individuals seeking a job offer from a Canadian employer. It is crucial to verify the authenticity of a job offer, as the consequences of presenting a fraudulent job offer may be serious. Individuals who misrepresent themselves or their situation on an immigration application — even if advised to by a representative — may be found inadmissible to Canada and banned from submitting another application for five years.
How to tell if a job offer is real
Here are some tips for distinguishing real job offers from potential scams.
- Do some research on the company and the person who contacted you. If a company does not have a website, it may be fake. If the company’s website has contact information, search this separately online.
- Look at the email address of the person who contacted you. Reputable recruiters and employers will have corporate email addresses. If you see an address from a free email provider such as Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo, the job offer is likely fraudulent.
- A reputable recruiter or employer will never ask for payment upfront. If someone is asking for a deposit, training fee, or money to cover costs such as work permit or visa fees, it is wise to consult a third party representative about the offer.
- Canadian companies very rarely hire without an interview or phone conversation. If you have only communicated by email with a potential employer who does not want to meet face-to-face, it is likely a fraudulent offer.
If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Common scams include the promise of permanent immigration, free travel, or highly-paid work-from-home schemes. Individuals who receive a job offer that seems fraudulent are encouraged to directly contact the company named on the job offer to verify its authenticity. Alternatively, it is also possible to consult an authorized representative regarding potentially fraudulent job offers.