Canada – “Ghost” Immigration Consultants

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In this article, we share some information and tips that will help you recognize ghost consultants and empower you against such fraudulent consultants offering Canadian immigration advice.

Ghost consultants can cause a major setback for immigration & visa applicants leading to misrepresentation or incompetent application filing resulting in refusal or even a ban from Canada.

Seeking assistance from unauthorized consultants itself is an offence in Canada.


Who Are Ghost Consultants?

“Ghost Immigration consultants” are people who offer immigration services to clients without having the necessary education, training, or licensing. They falsely represent themselves as immigration specialists. They are not permitted to represent or apply on behalf of a client.

Canadian law is clear. Only licensed RCIC (Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants), Immigration Lawyers in good standing with the bar association, and Notaries (only in Quebec) can charge a fee for providing immigration advice and services.

Any other individual or organization providing immigration & visa services or advice is illegal in Canada.


Why choose a licensed Registered Immigration Consultant or Immigration Lawyer

  1. Registered Consultants or lawyers submit their client’s application using the legal representative portal, whereas ghost consultants submit applications using the client’s email or an email made in the client’s name
  2. Legal responsibility for any false statements made in an application by a registered consultant/lawyer falls on them, whereas a ghost consultant is not recognized by IRCC. Hence, in the case of ghost consultants implications of any false statements made in an application fall on the client, who can then even face an exclusion order in case of misrepresentation
  3. Clients have the ability to complain against licensed RCICs or Immigration lawyers if they are not representing their client correctly, as a result of which they may end up losing their license. However, you cannot complain against ghost consultants to any regulatory authority.
  4. RCICs and Immigration lawyers have extensive knowledge of immigration law & policies. Ghost consultants do not have proper immigration law education. Hence, there is always the risk of an incompetent visa application that may result in refusal.


How to Identify a Ghost Consultant?

  1. Is the consultant signing an agreement with you? Sign a Client/Retainer agreement before hiring any immigration consultant or lawyer. A Client/Retainer agreement enlists all the details of your contract with a particular legal representative. It has duties, fees, conditions, etc. for both the client and consultant/lawyer.
  2. Is the consultant willing to share proof that they are registered and licensed to practice? It is not at all offensive to ask your representative for proof that they are genuine.
  3. Is the immigration consultant/lawyer implying or giving you a 100% guarantee of visa processing? Please note that there is NO GUARANTEE of a visa in any category. This prerogative is only with IRCC.
  4. Is the immigration consultant/lawyer telling you that they have special influence in an embassy/high commission? NO ONE has a special influence in any Canadian embassy or high commission.
  5. Are you being asked to share your UCI or Application number or personal details with any website/YouTube/Instagram page/Facebook page or other social media platforms in anticipation of getting more information on processing? If you are, beware of such requests.
  6. Only processing times provided on the IRCC website or your online application portal are true. NO ONE has extra information on the processing of applications and no one can offer you faster processing of an application.
  7. Are you being asked to share your bank details with the consultant/lawyer? IRCC will never call you to get your bank details for payment of fees.
  8. Are you being asked to share your original documents for any purpose other than scanning of documents, which can be done within a very short period of time? Beware of such requests.

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