Immigrating to another country can be one of the most exciting, challenging things that you can do but if you are scammed or taken advantage of by someone who is meant to be helping you immigrate, it can be devastating.
It is becoming increasingly easy to fall prey to unscrupulous individuals, who often advertise on social media, but basically sell a false immigration package, and charge large fees that legally they are not authorised to do. These scam immigration consultants are known as ghost consultants, as they tend to operate illegally from another country so that the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, or any other laws pertinent to Canada do not apply to them. This basically means that as they operate outside of the law, you are not protected if they rip you off.
Sometimes the ghost consultants will advertise fantastic looking jobs with a work visa, but the ads are just a scam to get money for a work permit from you, or sometimes even money for nothing, as these dream jobs do not exist. The job applicant sometimes is put through an interview, but this is just a set up, so that you pay the ghost consultant fees for setting up the interview. There are hundreds of immigration consultants and lawyers online, with glossy adverts that promise the earth. The old adage stands, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
The Canadian Government has taken steps to deal with ghost immigration consultants, such as asking the governments of other countries to expose scam consultants, as well as regularly updating their official website, and raising awareness of the problem.
If you have spotted a website or advert for an immigration consultant that you want to get assistance from, there are a few things that you can do to check that they are legal and above board. Only lawyers, paralegals and immigration consultants who are registered with certain bodies, can legally give you help with your visa application. These official bodies include being a member of the Chambre des Notaires du Québec, a territorial or provincial law society and Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC).
A prospective immigrant should always check that your consultant is registered with one of the above organisations, if you are not sure there is a public forum on the Canadian Government website and that of the ICCRC, where people can report any problems or issues as well as report a suspected ghost consultant. Complaints will be sent to the Canada Border Services Agency, known as CBSA, who will investigate for fraudulent activity. You can also report directly to the ICCRC themselves. Immigrating to Canada opens you up to fantastic opportunities, just take time to check that your immigration agent is not a ghost consultant. If you come across any scam immigration consultants, we are always interested to know about them, so that we can warn people on our Canadian visa reviews site.
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