If there’s one thing plaguing Canada’s Immigration system, it’s the ghost consultants. Ghost consultants are individuals disguised as licensed consultants promising to provide immigration services to foreigners planning to immigrate to Canada.

These crooked consultants charge heavy fees and lure innocent immigrants into forging their documents to easily enter Canada, only to realize that the job they applied for does not exist. These unsuspecting immigrants will then often turn to licensed professionals for help, but most of the time, they cannot reverse the damage and fix the individual’s immigration status.

How Do Ghost Consultants Exploit the Individual?

Although acquiring a Canadian visa doesn’t require seeking the services of an immigration consultant, many need information and assistance with paperwork. Ghost consultants exploit these individuals by boasting special connections with government officials and promising guaranteed entry into Canada.

What Actions Are Taken by The Government?

According to the law, one must register with The College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC) to become a licensed immigration consultant. Established in 2011, ICCRC and now CICC was formed to crack down on unauthorized ghost consultants conning hundreds of thousands of individuals every year.

CICC lays down rules and regulations for consultant conduct and holds the authority to take disciplinary action when needed. However, the regulatory body’s authority is limited to its own members and doesn’t include taking action against ghost consultants. Although CICC was formed to eradicate the evil of fake consultants, it was conferred no real authority to do so until 2021.

Complaints regarding ghost consultants have to be forwarded to Canadian Border Services Agency CBSA. Records show CBSA has handled over 400 complaints about unauthorized immigration practitioners from June 2011 to September 2015. It initiated investigations against 71 cases and handed over 12 charges to the criminals.

How Ghost Consultants Effect the Society?

Although there are licensed immigration consultants who do offer legal services, the illegal work of ghost consultants has significantly tarnished their reputation. In 2015, a Richmond B.C. man, Xun Wang, was sentenced to seven years after pleading guilty to fraudulent passport scheme charges. Around 800 of his clients are currently under review by government authorities. Those people will most likely be deported to China.

During the Syrian refugee crisis, lawyers nationwide filed pro bono sponsorship applications for Syrians, indicating a widespread agreement among the legal professionals that it was the ethical thing to do. However, it was found that some consultants were charging exorbitant processing fees and asking for repayment of resettlement funds from innocent people, which was unethical and against the immigration law.

Final Thoughts – Tips to Verify Your Consultant

You may come across “consultants” or “lawyers” who you approach to help you with an application. Here are a few tips to identify if they are a ghost consultant:

Check if they are registered with the ICCRC – verify your consultant

Are they an active member?

Did they provide a retainer agreement?

Are they representing you as a client and filling out the use of representative form? – form

If none of the above statements are met, do not use their services!

A ghost consultant will charge you a fee, put through your application, but if anything happens negatively they are not held responsible and will “ghost” you.

There is a strict certification process to become certified as an RCIC, the ICCRC requires members to follow the following 5 conditions:

  1. Successful completion of an immigration practitioners program – a course on Canadian immigration and refugee law, taken through an accredited post-secondary institution;
  2. Successful completion of the Full Skills Exam – an examination on immigration law and practice management;
  3. Demonstrated good character through a satisfactory background check;
  4. Demonstrated language proficiency in English or French through the submission of results of an accredited language test; and
  5. Status in Canada as a citizen, permanent resident, or Status Indian.

After an RCIC is certified, they have to have a minimum of 16 hours of continuing education hours per year to maintain their good standing!

Have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.