Warning

Fraud is a big problem in Canadian immigration

a problem best avoided.

You may know someone who has been frauded in the immigration process. Maybe by a lawyer who promised they could get an Invitation to Apply (ITA) in Express Entry, but never delivered? Or maybe by a consultant who has a misleading contract ended up charging more money than expected? Or, one of the most common, maybe by a fake recruiter who promised a job offer for money? 

The best way to protect yourself from fraud is to use a consultant with a demonstrated record of success, but it is also important to know how to spot the scammers. We’ve put together this list of five common red flags to watch out for if you’re hiring an immigration consultant or lawyer. If you notice any of these things, proceed with caution: there’s something in the air. It’s the aroma of fraud.

RED FLAG: CANNOT PROVIDE AN IRCC NUMBER OR PROVINCIAL LAW ASSOCIATION LISTING

RED FLAG: GUARANTEEING A SUCCESSFUL VISA, WORK PERMIT, OR PERMANENT RESIDENCE APPLICATION

RED FLAG: ASKING FOR MONEY FOR A JOB OFFER

RED FLAG: NO REPRESENTATIVE FORM OR CONTRACT TO SIGN

RED FLAG: ASKING FOR A LOT OF MONEY UPFRONT WITHOUT ANY CONSULTATION

Red Flag: Cannot provide an IRCC number or provincial law association listing

In order to accept money to work on your immigration application, a representative must have the proper authorization. For immigration representative, this authorization comes through the Citizenship and Immigration Ministry of Canada (IRCC), and for lawyers, it comes through their provincial legal association, usually called a Bar Association. 

To check if your representative has the proper authorization, ask them to provide their RCIC number.

To check if your lawyer has the proper authorization, ask them to provide a link to their listing on the relevant provincial legal association website.

In Ontario, paralegals can also represent you on your application but must be in good standing with the Ontario Bar Association. In Quebec, notaries can also represent you but must be in good standing with the Chambre des notaires du Québec.