Canada’s immigration system can be very complex and difficult to navigate. Many people, both in Canada and abroad will seek the help of professionals to ensure their applications are filled out correctly and on time. Most often, that means people will hire an immigration lawyer or an immigration consultant. These services can be very expensive. While there an oversight body for registered immigration consultants in Canada, the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC), Members of Parliament – myself included – far too often are told of stories of unregistered or ‘ghost consultants’ that charge incredibly high fees and provide bad services; including advice to break the law.
CIMM set out to study the immigration consultant landscape in Canada to identify ways policies and regulations can be changed to better protect individuals hoping to make Canada their home or to reunite with loved ones.
What we heard was that only were unregistered consultants a significant issue, but there were very significant and credible concerns about the ICCRCs ability to regulate the registered consultant industry.
Members of the Committee tabled a unanimous, strong report urging the government to take immediate action and end the self-regulation model for immigration consultants in Canada.
That report can be found here: http://www.ourcommons.ca/DocumentViewer/en/42-1/CIMM/report-11/
The government has recently responded to that report, and that response can be found here: http://www.ourcommons.ca/DocumentViewer/en/42-1/CIMM/report-11/response-8512-421-255
I am deeply disappointed in the government’s response. The government is failing to act to protect people, instead continuing to ‘consult and review’, waiting at least another year to take any meaningful action. In the meantime, an unknown of people will continue to be exploited financial and emotionally devastated by ghost consultants, and are forced to question if they are being provided adequate service even by registered consultants.
Media on consultants:
- Opposition accuses Liberals of 'paralysis' in crackdown on crooked immigration consultants: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/immigration-consultants-hussen-1.4358090
- NDP MP Jenny Kwan slams government for lack of action against consultants exploiting migrant workers: http://www.voiceonline.com/government-consultants-exploiting/
- Parliamentary committee recommends scrapping immigration consulting regulator: https://www.thestar.com/news/immigration/2017/06/18/parliamentary-committee-recommends-scrapping-immigration-consulting-regulator.html
- Liberals face pressure to crack down on crooked immigration consultants: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/immigration-ghost-consultants-study-1.4141280