There are a few common mistakes we have seen throughout the years, and we want to make sure you know about these mistakes and how to avoid them. Most of these mistakes are avoidable if you are aware of them and don’t get trapped in the dangers that can be crucial to the success of your immigration application. The blog will go over the top 5 mistakes we see while letting you know how to avoid them to ensure you're following the rules and have a successful application.
Number 1: Working with Unauthorized Representatives
When putting together an immigration application, you have the option of seeking help from family and friends or non-governmental or religious organizations, or you can retain services from a competent, experienced, and licensed representative.
It is your responsibility to make sure you are receiving help from someone that has your best interests in mind. You need to be on the lookout for potential cases of fraud or misrepresentation as this could have really devastating effects on your immigration application process. Remember, it is important to be truthful and open at every stage of your application. If you are using the assistance of a representative during your application process, you are required to fill out an additional form, the Use of a Representative (IMM 5476).
Immigration consultants are licensed to provide services during immigration proceedings. As part of Canadian immigration law, they are required to be licensed through College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC) to provide legitimate immigration services. Find out if your representative is authorized on the public register.
As part of their job, immigration consultants have a duty to be competent. This means they should be able to understand and guide you based on your circumstances to help you achieve the best results. Unauthorized immigration consultants or ‘ghost consultants’ do not have the knowledge, expertise, and skills to provide proper and competent services. They also do not have the proper training to provide legitimate services that follow CICC rules and guidelines. This may leave many vulnerable groups and families, such as yours, at risk of being scammed and misrepresented in their files. Even worse, it could result in your application being sent back or rejected.
What is a ‘Ghost Consultant’?
Ghost consulting is the unauthorized representation of individuals during immigration proceedings. Ghost consultants pass themselves off as legitimate and provide assistance on behalf of the applicant for a fee. This is considered a breach of Canadian Law and you could be breaking the law of your new home without even knowing it.
Note: There are penalties for unauthorized representatives who provide representation or advice to or on behalf of a client for a fee at any stage of an application proceeding. This includes before a proceeding begins or an application is submitted.
Over the years, unauthorized representatives have become quite common. This is very concerning and problematic not only for immigrants looking to use the services of an immigration consultant so they can successfully immigrate to Canada but also for the public safety and interests of Canadian society.
If you have complaints or issues with an authorized immigration consultation, you have the option of filing a complaint with the appropriate governing body to deal with the concerns. However, receiving assistance from ghost consultants can be very risky because you do not have access to a complaint process to deal with these issues. This means you may have no legal recourse against them.
So, how can you avoid these types of consultants? Well, ask them questions, like:
Clients of ghost consultants are more vulnerable to fraud and misrepresentation, potentially leading to a finding of inadmissibility in Canada. Not to mention, if you are the subject of an investigation involving a ghost consultation, it may take several years before charges are laid and a decision on your immigration application is made. Lastly this can put you at risk many years later should you be lucky and get approved as you will be responsible for any misrepresentations that are made by these unauthorized representatives.
The Law on Crooked Consultants
With the rise of fraudulent immigration consultants over the years, the Government of Canada has had to step in and cracked down on these crooked consultants. In June 2010, the Cracking Down on Crooked Consultants Act was created to better regulate unauthorized immigration consultants.
Not to mention, under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), it is an offence to knowingly represent or advise a person in connection with an immigration proceeding unless the member a lawyer who is in good standing of a Canadian law society, a notary who is a member in good standing of the Chambre des notaires du Québec, any other member in good standing of a Canadian law society (including paralegals) or a member in good standing of a body designated under IRPA. It is considered an offence to charge a fee for immigration or citizenship advice, or any representation services during the immigration application process if you are unauthorized to do so.
One thing to take from this mistake is to be careful and ask the right questions. Using an unauthorized representative can jeopardize not only your immigration application, but your chances of ever coming to Canada.
Number 2: Relying Only on the Government Website
It can be overwhelming to navigate your immigration journey. There are tons of information on the internet, so it is important to do your due diligence when doing your research and not only understand if the source is accurate but also be able to articulate that information as it relates to your situation. This means making sure you are getting your information from reliable and legitimate sources. Blogs such as the one you’re currently reading are here to help you in your immigration journey! They help you process information posted on Canadian government websites, forms, regulations, and laws more effectively and easily for you. With that being said, it is very important that you are getting your information from relevant and up-to-date sources.
There are a few things that you should keep in mind when doing your research. It is key that you are staying informed and up to date with the information being posted on these websites. They are an excellent place to start your research and figure out how you wish to proceed with your immigration process. However, the information posted on websites such as the Government of Canada Website is often just a summary of the actual laws and regulations. They do not provide all the information you need to know for your process. Instead, they provide just summaries and when it comes to your immigration application, provide very basic checklists.
This is simply not enough to help you make an informed decision and choose which pathway is most appropriate for your immigration journey. Even more so, they do not provide enough guidance to make sure you are filing and submitting your application properly. It is up to you to do further research. This means actually reading the laws and regulations relating to your situation, cross-checking the information you find, and receiving authorized representation, when necessary. Again, the websites can be confusing and if you are ever overwhelmed with the information presented to you, it may be wise to retain some help. You really need to be honest with yourself and vulnerable to know when you need help, as you have a lot to lose.
There is also the IRCC call centers that can guide you throughout your immigration application process when questions arise in your application process. It is important to note that these call centers typically rely on these web pages and have been known to give inaccurate advice. Call centers are great for help trying to navigate the website or find certain pages but are not there to help with your application, while at the same time, the government call center only caters to files that are being processed in Canada.
I have tons of people come to me saying they did their research online – which I love to hear! But what I don’t love to hear is that people are doing this research on public forums. Many forums are simply outdated or just untrue. This is usually because they tend to include the experiences of past immigrant applicants with unique circumstances, negative experiences, or ill-informed individuals. Relying on information and advice on such forums could possibly be detrimental to your application. We cannot stress enough that everyone’s application is different. If someone posted on a forum their situation, it is highly likely it will not be the same for you or it might be out of date as immigration laws, policy and bulletins are constantly changing.
We strongly encourage you to do proper research when looking into immigration programs in Canada. This means not just relying on government websites, call centers, or forums. It means doing further research to gain a better understanding of the application process, programs, eligibility requirements, etc. There is a wide range of sources and professionals you could reach out to in order to make sure you’re getting accurate and verified information.
Number 3: Only Looking at One Immigration Program
Deciding what immigration program you want to apply for can be overwhelming as there are over 75+ different programs that are offered in Canada. It is possible that you are eligible for more than one program, so it’s important to do your research and make sure you are considering all possible options and pathways. You may qualify for a program that you didn’t even know existed!
It is very common for prospective clients to rely on advice from friends and family when deciding what program to apply for. These tend to be the most popular and busiest pathways that are offered. They hear about one program and set their mind on it. But it is best to know all of your options before making your decision. There are a few different reasons for this.
First, you may learn about a program that is more cost-efficient than others. We like to find the fastest, easiest, and most cost-effective route for our clients, so we need to consider all possibilities. For example, you may have your heart set on studying in Canada. While this is an awesome strategy to use, have you considered applying directly through Express Entry? If your end goal is to apply for Permanent Residency in Canada and you have experience as a skilled worker, you should also consider the Federal Skilled Worker Program. Applying directly for the FSW program is less expensive than the costs associated with studying in Canada. If your CRS score is high enough – why not!
Secondly, you may be eligible for Express Entry programs that can process your application more quickly, at a fraction of the time it would generally take. So, it is important to not only do your research but also make sure you meet all the eligibility requirements of the program you’re considering before you apply.
Thirdly, it is better to have a strategic plan when it comes to your immigration path to Canada. In a way, you should think of your plan and imagine the steps backwards to reach your end goal. For example, if you know your ultimate goal is to be a Canadian Citizen, then you must first become a permanent resident, and either be a student or worker before that. This is a good way to have a holistic picture of your future pathway and not be too intimidated with the in between steps needed to achieve this.
Lastly, it is always recommended that you go for a consultation with an immigration professional on your immigration possibilities. While it is a good idea to have an idea of your pathways and qualifications, you should be mindful of what the consultant has to say about your details and information. They can come up with ideas and programs that you may not know. It is like going to a doctor and telling them what prescription you need before telling them what ails you! You have to have a strategy and plan your steps around that. A good way to do this is through the Immigration Blueprint Challenge.
The biggest takeaway is to consider all of your immigration options. We would never want you to miss out on a great opportunity and make Canada your home as quickly, easily, and cost-effectively as possible!
Number 4: Multiple Refusals
If you had your application refused, you must take that into account when considering what your next steps are. Any subsequent applications after being rejected are most likely to be costlier and harder than the first application. This is why, if possible, it’s best to do your first application properly. This means accurately filling out forms, submitting the proper documents, and making sure all relevant information is included when putting together your application package.
There are a number of factors that visa officers take into consideration when reviewing your application. If a visa officer has reasons to believe your application doesn’t provide sufficient and accurate information or that you are ineligible for the program, they have the power to reject your application. Depending on the program, you could apply again with additional information that you didn’t include in your first application. However, sometimes the visa officer may state in your decision letter that you cannot apply for the same program again. At that point, you can choose to apply to a different program or appeal to the appropriate governing body, if eligible.
Refusals are never what you want. But they do happen. I often see people come to me with 2 or 3 or even 5 refusals after doing their application by themselves, and there isn’t much I can do at that point as they have dug themselves in deep but sometimes we are able to fix the damage that people have done to themselves. The more refusals you get, the harder it will be to successfully immigrate to Canada. This is why I stress to people to know your abilities and seek representation when you need it. Immigration Consultants know what they’re doing, and it is less likely for you to be refused if your application is done properly.
If you are unlucky to get a refusal, you should stop and not file another application until you have professional advice as you may be able to take care of this. If you are using the services of a ghost consultant or unauthorized representative, remember that they cannot actually advocate on your behalf as they are not allowed to. They also do not have the tools or knowledge to deal with this as most likely they will tell you to refile which is DEFINITELY not a good idea.
Number 5: Shopping Based on Cost
We all love a good deal but trading your future for the best price is well, not a good idea. You have a lot to lose, and everything to gain so please do not make this crucial mistake. We all know that you get what you pay for so… please do not shop based on price but instead find someone to work with based on their results and track record.
There are two types of representatives that you can seek assistance from. One is unpaid representatives and that could be family members, friends, or other third-party organizations that do not charge a fee. Another type is authorized paid representatives. These are representatives that charge fees in exchange for services throughout your immigration process.
The service and fees for representatives vary. It is advised that you discuss your circumstances with potential representatives to get an idea of the kind of services they will be providing you with as well as an estimate of fees in writing. It is important that you figure out these details before retaining their services. Make sure you’re also doing the proper research to choose the right representative for you and your family’s needs.
Applying for an immigration program can be a costly process, of course we understand that. That is why it is important that you are taking all the necessary steps and precautions to make sure you are doing it right the first time. This is where immigration consultants come into the picture. They are able to guide you throughout the process so that you are doing everything right and able to increase your chances of having a successful application. The fees depend on what you need assistance and guidance with and the services the consultant is providing you with. Each consultant is unique and may charge fees depending on a variety of factors. If a consultant believes your application is going to require more work and documentation, they may charge more for their services.
Like many other services you pay for, you get what you pay for as we noted above. In this case, you are paying to get advice on a life-changing plan and steps forward in your life. Some might say it is a small price to pay for you and your family for years to come. It may be worth investing money into an excellent immigration consultant who is skilled and experienced in the industry. They will be able to do whatever means necessary to ensure a successful transition to Canada. We offer our services based on results, not costs. Why weigh representative fees to an amazing future in Canada?
With that being said, unfortunately, there are also those unauthorized/illegal immigration consultants out there that take advantage of potential and existing clients. There may be instances where you pay the fees but you never see them again or they end up not providing you valuable services. This can be a frustrating expense at the cost of your application. To avoid such mistakes, do your part and look into any potential immigration consultants before retaining them. See if you can get a consultation to discuss the details of your case and whether they would be able to be of any help to you in your proceeding. If you decide to retain them, make sure you have written a contract or agreement outlining what services will be provided by the immigration consultant and at what costs.
Note: Beware of representatives who may initially advertise their services and provide guidance for free but later ask you to pay a fee, rest assured that no one is working for free and one way or another you will pay them and a lot of times it will be a lot more than going through other avenues
There are many mistakes that can be made when starting your Canadian immigration journey. The process can be confusing, which may lead to mistakes. As long as you are aware of these mistakes and knowledgeable of the consequences, you are on the road to a successful application! This is why we stress the importance of planning. If you have a plan set out, it is less likely that you will get trapped in these mistakes.
If you have any questions for us, contact Second Passport and we’re happy to assist you with your question or concern.
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