For the past several decades, immigration has been a big thing in Canada. Immigration is an ongoing demand, not only does Canada need immigrants to continuously sustain its economy, but there are a lot of people from all over the world that wants to migrate to Canada and seek greener pastures. Since the immigration demand is huge, and the supply – in terms of people wanting to come to Canada, is ever there, almost like a bottomless pit, immigration services are proven to be a profitable business.
Without denial, immigration services are among the highest-paid professionals in Canada. Of course, applicants are free to do the applications for themselves, however, a process as intricate and as risky as immigration where your future lies upon, it is a safe bet to get services from professionals especially if you have access to resources.
If you are planning to get services from immigration professionals, you have to make sure they are genuine and not scammers leeching on your money. As bad as it sounds, there are opportunists that will deceive you to not only exploit your money but steal your identity as well. Being a victim of a scam or phishing costs time and of course the devastating feeling of putting your efforts to waste.
So, here are some tips to protect yourself from immigration scams:
1. First and foremost, find out if they are authorized.
If you are hiring a paid representative, make sure they are authorized to practice and give advice. Legitimate immigration consultants have licenses to practice and you can ask them to provide their legal name and the license number for you to countercheck. You can check all licensed immigration consultants in the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants’ database. Check the link below:
You may also ask them about their training, experience, and how long have they been in the business.
2. Before going into an agreement with an immigration representative:
Make sure they provide you with a legible contract with their information, all the services they will provide for you, and the corresponding fees. Do not sign the retainer agreement unless you have acknowledged everything that is written on it.
What is a Retainer Agreement?
A retainer agreement is a legal document between the immigration representative and the client. It contains the following information: service fees, risk of the application, services offered, and the responsibility of the client and the representative.
Accoriding to IRCC, this is the purpose of a Retainer Agreement – “The purpose of a Retainer Agreement is to set out the exact duties of the Member and the Client so that all parties to the Agreement have clear expectations regarding what will be provided, how the service will be provided, and at what cost.”
3. If it is too good to be true, it probably isn’t true.
Immigration consultants and lawyers by law, cannot give you an assurance that your application will be 100% approved. They cannot guarantee the outcome of your application since only immigration officers can decide whether your application is approved or denied. Anybody soliciting you for money promising your application is a sure success is definitely a red flag you should look out for. Immigration consultants can only help you present yourself in accordance with IRCC guidelines.
4. Beware of representatives who encourage you to give false information and do not file your documents correctly.
You cannot lie in your application. Legitimate immigration representative knows the dire consequences of lying in your application. Falsifying your declaration and documents may it be intentionally or omitted can definitely cause a negative impact on your application. You must also be fully aware of anything your immigration representative makes you sign. Review your documents thoroughly and do not sign blank application forms.
5. Check the authenticity of the documents they provide for you. See the following guides below on how to determine if the email you received is from IRCC.
Emails from IRCC ends in the following addresses: @cic.gc.ca , @canada.ca, or @international.gc.ca.
- Legitimate emails are usually from a “do not reply” account.
- There will be instructions in the email if they need you to reply or any action required but remember it is still not a direct reply to the email. There will be instructions provided on how you can respond and submit the requested documents.
- For online applications, updates and emails will be sent in your own online account.
Even though having an immigration representative does not give your application special attention from IRCC, having support from knowledgeable and experienced professional still gives you an edge. Immigration professionals will surely help you in your immigration journey, while they cannot guarantee 100% that your application will be approved (otherwise, that’ll be a red flag as we have already learned from this article), they can at least guide you in your application process and avoid preventable mistakes that can lead to misrepresentations.