Canadian immigration law allows for both lawyers and immigration consultants to provide legal immigration support to clients and prospective clients. However, one of the challenges this poses is that some clients engage immigration consultants who are not always legitimate and who do not provide their services credibly. Hence, there are five ways in which you can look out for fraudulent immigration providers and to avoid immigration fraud.
1. Verify Credentials
The first thing you should do to avoid immigration fraud is to verify that your immigration provider is actually licensed to provide the services that they are purporting to provide you with. It is very important that you make sure that if they are a lawyer or a law firm, they are registered with a provincial law society.
For instance, if you engage a lawyer in the province of Ontario, they should be registered with the law society of Ontario. If the person is an immigration consultant, you should check with the regulatory body for immigration consultants to verify that they are licensed. You may want to ask them to provide you with a copy of their license or their license number so that you can use it to verify that they are credible and legitimate. This is one way to help you avoid being defrauded.
2. Online Reviews
After verifying your immigration provider’s credentials,the second crucial thing to do is to check their online reviews. Essentially, online reviews give you an idea about what other clients or people have to say about them or their services. Being licensed is one thing, but providing credible services or even a person’s honesty is a totally different thing.
Checking reviews enables you to verify that the immigration provider you want to work with is actually a person whose services have been used by others before. In other words, you want to cross-reference that there are other people who can vouch for the genuineness and quality services provided by an immigration provider or otherwise.
3. Red Flags
The third thing you can do to avoid immigration fraud is to look out for red flags. Red flags are dangerous signs that create doubts about a person or their services. One of the most prevalent red flags is when an immigration provider purports to be able to guarantee you the outcome. Any person who tells you that they are able to provide a 100% guarantee of what the outcome of your immigration matter is going to be is not a dishonest person.
The only persons who are able to make final decisions on immigration applications are immigration officers and in the case of immigration cases before a court of law or tribunal are immigration judges. In other words, no immigration service provider is able to guarantee the outcome of your immigration matter and that is a red flag.
4. Job Promises
The fourth tip on how to avoid immigration fraud is to look out for immigration providers who purport to be able to provide you with all kinds of jobs in Canada. Immigration providers are not employers, they are just that; immigration providers. Many clients have reported to often come across immigration providers who claim to be able to provide them with job offers inside Canada.
In some instances, there may be some immigration providers who work alongside some employers to provide jobs for foreign nationals. But, often that is a sign that something is off and could also be a red flag. Such instances could potentially get you into difficult situations that you want to avoid.
5. Retainer Agreement
The fifth important tip is that you need to ensure that whoever you do hire to provide you with immigration services provides you with a retainer agreement. A retainer agreement is a legal contract which among other things, outlines the responsibilities of the service provider to you. A lawyer would normally provide you with a retainer agreement that would specify exactly what kinds of services they would be providing you with, details regarding costs, timelines, and other related expectations.
It is also important to bear in mind that the retainer agreement needs to be signed by both parties. A signed retainer agreement binds the parties and the lawyer will have a duty to deliver on the obligations stipulated under the contract. Hence, it would be advisable that you have the retainer with you to hold on to.
In a nutshell, the above five tips are crucial tips for you if you want to avoid immigration fraud in Canada. It is also worth noting that immigration fraud could potentially lead you to be barred from Canada. It may lead to your immigration application being denied even in situations where it was your immigration representative who acted fraudulently.
Therefore, you need to be absolutely careful and to take as many steps as necessary to ascertain that the person you hire to handle your immigration matters is not a fraud or somebody who will lead you into immigration fraud that can have detrimental consequences.
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