Quebec may just be the first province to implement regulations in an effort to stop the unethical tactics offered to people wishing to immigrate to Canada. According to the province, it’s far too easy for newcomers to be mislead into believing their immigration paperwork can be fast-tracked or that lies on their applications will get them further.
On Thursday, February 18th, the provincial government announced that immigration consultants will have to pass a test, register with the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants, have a spotless track record as well as demonstrate a knowledge of the French language. Only people registered with the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants, notaries and lawyers will be legally allowed to offer their representation for people wishing to immigrate to Quebec, and fines up up to $50,000 and $100,000 for repeat offenders will be issued.
The public will also be able to see which immigration consultants are recognized by the province, and those whose right to practice has been suspended, all on an accessible public database.
Quebec Minister of Immigration and Cultural Communities Yolande James said after the announcement, “We’re sensitive to the fact that there are vulnerable people falling victim to the schemes of some ill-intentioned people. We understand that there are consultants who do their job very well, but for consultants who have poor practices, or others, the message is clear – you must follow Quebec’s guidelines or shut your doors.”
The federal government has applauded the Government of Quebec’s actions and wishes to take similar action itself, but has not mentioned when or how they expect to get that done. In 2004, the Canadian Government began requiring that immigration consultants be registered with the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants, but there is little enforcement of this requirement and many unregistered companies are still operating in Canada.
The federal government has made similar promises about unregistered immigration consultants, but the fact that it’s not known when the government will begin cracking down on these shady companies and individuals makes it glaringly obvious that candidates for immigration to Canada can easily have their applications compromised by these unethical practices.
Bravo to Quebec! Lets hope other provinces follow suit with regulating Immigration Consultants better.
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