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Top 20 Tips on How to Prevent Immigration Fraud

A person who holds a diploma from an immigration practitioner’s program is not a licensed Immigration Consultant yet. They must be registered with ICCRC in order to offer Canadian immigration services in exchange for a fee.

Just because someone has taken an immigration education program does not automatically mean that they are authorized to practise. Immigration Consultants must be registered with ICCRC. Please check the Council’s public register and search by first or last name, company name, geographic location or Consultant Identification number (RCIC #). Click the “Contact” link for more information.

Beware if you are not asked to sign a retainer agreement.

A retainer agreement is also known as the ‘services contract’ or ‘contract’. This is a document prepared by an Immigration Consultant stating that they are providing immigration services for you in exchange for a fee. An Immigration Consultant must provide you with a retainer agreement/contract before any services begin. You and the Immigration Consultant must both sign and date the retainer agreement/contract. Make sure that you have a copy for your files.

Be mindful if you are asked to sign a retainer agreement with a company, an agent or someone else instead of the licensed Immigration Consultant.

The two people signing the retainer agreement must be you and the licensed Immigration Consultant. This means that the Immigration Consultant’s full legal name must be indicated on the retainer agreement along with their license number (e.g., An Immigration Consultant would include their ICCRC Membership ID number beginning with the letter ‘R’ followed by six numbers – R123456). The Immigration Consultant signing your retainer agreement should be the person conducting the immigration services for you.

Beware if you are not asked to sign a Use of a Representative Form (IMM5476) or if the person you hired for immigration services signs it declaring they are a friend or family member when they are not.

The Use of a Representative Form (IMM5476) is a government-issued form that confirms that the chosen Immigration Consultant is authorized to represent your immigration case. This form has several sections including your first and last names, your date of birth, etc. It also includes the first and last name of your Immigration Consultant, their ICCRC Membership ID number, their full address, etc. You and the Immigration Consultant must both sign and date this form. Any inquiry made by your Immigration Consultant must include a copy of the signed IMM5476 to prove they are your authorized representative.

The signed IMM5476 is required even if the Immigration Consultant is a friend or family member, or if the consultant is not charging you for their services.

Do not sign blank forms or forms containing false information.

Never sign a blank form. You should check and verify all information is complete and accurate on any form before you sign it. Even if someone else completes your forms, you are ultimately responsible for the information on them.

Be wary if the person you hired for immigration services does not give you a copy of forms you both have signed.

You should always be provided with a copy of any forms you sign for your records.

Services and Payment

Be cautious if you are asked for a CASH payment.

Cash payments are not usually trackable because there is no document to prove that you paid. Other methods of payment are trackable (cheque, credit card, bank transfer) and can be proven by viewing a bank statement.

Make sure you receive invoices and receipts for all payments.

The fees you are charged are outlined in your signed Retainer Agreement. You should be issued an invoice outlining those fees before you pay, then issued a receipt showing your payment.

Be careful if a travel agent, an educational agent or a recruiter offers you immigration services.

Travel and educational agents and recruiters may offer immigration services or advice as part of a larger package. Though it is possible that they are authorized to offer immigration services related to travel, studies or work, it is important that you confirm their status as a RISIA or an RCIC before using them for immigration services.

Beware if you are given guarantees on processing time regarding an immigration application.

There is no absolute processing timeline for any type of immigration application. You may be advised of a timeline range (for example, 8-12 weeks), but no visa office or visa officer will ever give you a guarantee. This is because complications and delays may come up at any time during the visa processing, including background checks, medical exams, re-issuance of application forms, etc.

No one can guarantee an application approval.

The result of your immigration application cannot be guaranteed. The decision for any immigration application is up to the visa officer. You will not know the outcome of your application until you receive a written decision from the visa officer.

Beware if the person you are considering hiring for immigration services mentions that they know someone in the Immigration Department that can help with your immigration application.

The visa officer processing your application makes their own independent decision based on the merit of your case (the strength of the reason for your application with supporting evidence and documents). No one can influence the outcome of any application.

Always check to make sure your Immigration Consultant is in good standing on ICCRC’s online public register.

Before starting your application process with an Immigration Consultant, you should check that they have an ‘active’ status on ICCRC’s online public register. This means that they are in good standing and can offer you immigration advice in exchange for a fee.

If your Immigration Consultant has a status of Revoked or Suspended, then they are not currently authorized to represent your immigration case.

Be alert if you see the ICCRC corporate logo on an immigration website instead of the Member Insignia and there is no link to ICCRC’s website to verify if the Immigration Consultant is registered with ICCRC.

The ICCRC Corporate Logo can only be used by ICCRC staff. Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) cannot use the ICCRC Corporate Logo. RCICs have a special Member Insignia.

Beware if you are encouraged to lie on your immigration application.

If you lie on your immigration application, you are committing misrepresentation. The penalty for misrepresentation is a ban from submitting any type of application to Canada for a period of five years. This will be part of your immigration record and may affect your ability to apply for any application to Canada.

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