Sunday, June 6, 2010

THE GHOST CONSULTANTS

Canada is a very popular destination for Bangladeshi immigrants. Every year thousands of Bangladeshis file applications to Centralized Intake Office in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada for obtaining permanent residence status. Some submit applications to other Canadian Visa Offices in different countries.

It is quiet often than not that you read advertisements in Bangladeshi newspapers about “Immigration to Canada”. Not all of these advertisements however contain accurate information about the Canadian immigration system. Some of the advertisers even do not hesitate to mislead the people about the processing system of the Canadian immigration. Some make fantastic claims such as becoming permanent resident of Canada in a few months or getting status by just investing some money. They also create panic among people by spreading rumour that the Canadian government will change the list of approved occupations soon that has been established as per a ministerial directive. Why do they do that? Because they want more people to rush to file applications right now to increase their revenue in a short span of time.


One must understand that the Citizenship and Immigration Canada follows a standard procedure to asses all applications. There is no favouritism or bias towards or against particular group of people. The discretion of the immigration officer is exercised on the basis of rules and not on whims.

Sometime people become charmed by the office d├ęcor of some unscrupulous immigration consultants and the claims of their mesmerising success stories. There are some self-proclaimed immigration consultants in Bangladesh who will tell a prospective client that they would fill up the client’s application forms and provide advice about the documents to be submitted but will not allow the client to use their names as the official representative. The reason is simple. These consultants are not authorized by the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC) and therefore the Citizenship and Immigration Canada will not allow them to represent a client. They are known as ‘Ghost Consultants’. They are working for you illegally and secretly but at the same time making money. These ghost consultants are creating great troubles for innocent applicants. As they are not your official representative and are not competent to give you the right advice you suffer for their mistakes.

So what solution do you have? Just don’t allow anyone to deal with your application and represent you other than a Canadian lawyer of good standing with a provincial law society of Canada or an Immigration Consultant of good standing with the CSIC.

Even if you meet a consultant or a lawyer don’t feel shy about asking him about his professional experience and credentials. No lawyer or Immigration Consultant is allowed to give you any guarantee of obtaining immigrant visa of Canada. Only the immigration officer who will be assessing your application has the authority to issue you the immigrant visa. Your representative whether a lawyer or a consultant is responsible for advising and representing you in the best possible way.

The Citizenship and Immigration Minister of Canada Mr. Jason Kenney has recently declared that the Canadian government will soon replace the CSIC with a new government agency to regulate the service of the immigration consultants. In recent years the CSIC has faced serious criticism for failing to take action against some dishonest and incompetent immigration consultants.

If you appoint a Canadian lawyer who is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada he is required to verify your identity. If you are in Canada he will verify your identity document personally and be satisfied about who you are. If you are in abroad, for example in Bangladesh then your identity must be verified by a Notary Public who will make a declaration about verifying your identity by examining your identity document (passport, driver’s licence, national identity card etc.). You will then present this attestation of your identity to your Canadian lawyer

You should also sign a written retainer (an agreement of service) with your lawyer or consultant about the terms and condition of the professional service so that no ambiguity is created about your respective responsibilities and roles.

Always ask for a money receipt. A Canadian lawyer or an Immigration Consultant is required to deposit your fee to a trust account if he has not already provided the professional service to you. Once the service is provided the lawyer or the consultant must issue you an invoice and then withdraw the money (fee) from the trust account. If you pay the fee after receiving the service the lawyer or consultant does not have to deposit the money to the trust account. He will deposit the fee to the general account of his law or consulting firm and will be entitled to spend that immediately without any hindrance.

CHANGES IN THE AIR?

Yes some changes are going to take place soon. The Citizenship and Immigration Minister has proposed the following reforms to be made to the refugee determination system of Canada:


a. The refugee claimants will be interviewed by Immigration Officers within 8 days of their claim being referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB).

b. The interviewing Immigration Officer will gather information about the claim and schedule the date of the hearing.

c. A different public servant will hear the claim at the IRB within 60 days.

d. A refugee appeal division will be formed to hear the appeal of the unsuccessful claimants. However not all the claimants will be eligible to file the appeal. Some exception applies.

e. The government of Canada will designate some countries as “safe” and a claimant from any of those countries will not be allowed to file an appeal to the Refugee Appeal Division but will be allowed to file application for leave and for judicial review to the Federal Court.

f. A failed refugee claimant who is not removed from Canada will have access to the Pre-Removal Risk Assessment and application for permanent residence under humanitarian and compassionate considerations only within one year of the final decision of the IRB.

For details of the proposed changes please visit the website www.cic.gc.ca