Blog by Chloe Cartwright, BSW, RSW, ABR

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Immigration Consultant News

New Regulator for Immigration Consultants Announced!

Vancouver, March 18, 2011
— In order to improve the integrity of the immigration system, Dr. Alice Wong, Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism, on behalf of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney, today announced that a new regulatory body is being proposed to oversee immigration consultants. Click here to go to press release on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.

“The Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council – or ICCRC – has committed to enhancing the protection of the Canadian public and those who use the services of immigration consultants,” said Dr. Wong. “I am confident that, with the ICCRC’s strong regulation of immigration consultants, people using our immigration processes will be offered quality consultation, representation and advice.”

A notice has been published on the website of the Canada Gazette, Part I, proposing to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations so that the ICCRC becomes the regulator of immigration consultants. The official Gazette publication will be available on March 19, 2011.

The proposed amendments are open for public comment for a 30-day period. The current intention is that the final regulations would be published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, and would come into effect.

This proposed regulatory amendment is the culmination of a process that began in June 2010 when Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced its intention to launch a transparent public selection process to identify a body that could be recognized as the regulator of immigration consultants.

Immigration consultants are currently regulated by the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC). Reports by the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration in 2008 and 2009 pointed to governance issues and a lack of public confidence in CSIC. Based on the Standing Committee’s reports, CIC decided to launch this public process.

“I anticipate that the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council will not only help ensure public confidence in the integrity of the immigration program, but also that immigration consultants provide their services in a professional and ethical manner,” said Minister Kenney.

A selection committee was established to examine all submissions received following a public process requesting submissions from parties interested in being the regulator of immigration consultants. The committee reported its conclusions to the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism. Based on these conclusions, the ICCRC is being proposed as the regulator best placed to govern immigration consultants.

In its submission, the ICCRC committed to a variety of activities to foster a culture of transparency and openness and to protect the Canadian public and those using the services of an immigration consultant, while building a strong relationship with its members. It has also proposed innovative strategies to ensure accountability and transparency to its membership, including a hotline for members of Parliament for complaints and questions and a public awareness campaign.

Transitional measures would be put in place to ensure continuity of service for both existing members in good standing of CSIC and their clients during the transition to the ICCRC. This process could take a few months to complete and it is anticipated that the ICCRC could become the regulatory body this summer.

This process is part of a broader strategy to protect from immigration fraud people wanting to immigrate to or stay in Canada. Included in this strategy is Bill C-35, which aims to crack down on crooked consultants. As well, a multilingual domestic advertising campaign warning prospective immigrants, permanent residents and Canadian citizens not to be taken in by crooked immigration consultants was launched in February and an overseas advertising campaign, with the support of Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States—members of the Five Country Conference—was launched earlier this week. They can be viewed on YouTube.

Minister Kenney raised the issue of immigration consultant fraud in meetings with officials in China, India and the Philippines last fall and more recently in Pakistan. He has urged those governments to protect their citizens from exploitation and abuse by crooked immigration consultants.

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