Choosing a provider of immigration consultancy or legal services to Canada is a very sensitive task where options need to be assessed based on concrete parameters, including whether or not the lawyer or consultant is registered with the right regulatory, has a license or is of good repute.
To look into the background of Canadian immigration consultants, one can consult the Immigration Consultant Canadian Regulatory Counsel (ICCRS), and for lawyers – the applicable Canadian provincial law society website.
Requirements that immigration lawyers and consultants must meet to be considered of good standing include:
>> Canadian citizenship or Canadian permanent status;
>> Experience and Educational credentials in Canadian immigration;
>> Passing score on a professional standardized exam covering the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act of Canada;
>> Passing score on a professional standardized exam for English and French proficiency;
>> Payment of registration and licensing fees annually to regulatory bodies;
>> Insurance cover for error and omissions worth $1 million; and
>> Absence of criminal record in all countries and disciplinary proceedings leveled against them.
Under the law, individuals who are neither Canadian citizens nor permanent residents cannot offer professional immigration services, as they do not have the legal personality required to register ICCRS or any provincial law society in Canada.
Furthermore, choosing immigration lawyers or consultants involves the crucial element of trust. These professionals will be steering the course of their clients’ Canadian immigration applications, so it is important that trust be at the center of their business relationship.