More and more applicants are enjoying the benefits and peace of mind of using a representative when making an application to Citizenship & Immigration Canada (CIC). This is not a requirement but the guidance and advice have proven to be invaluable for a successful application. The Government of Canada amended the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations as of April 13, 2004 so that all practicing immigration consultants in Canada will need to be members in good standing with either the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC), a Canadian law society or the Chambre des notaires du Quebec in order to represent before Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) and the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA).

Each body is regulated and must adhere to a code of ethics and professionalism. I will address the benefits of using a licensed Immigration Consultant to prepare, submit and manage your application for immigration to Canada.

Why use an Immigration Consultant?

Licensed Immigration Consultants are up to date in Canadian Immigration Law and have the experience to present your application to CIC in a professional manner. This includes ensuring that all forms are completed correctly, the right NOC codes are used for your occupation, and the supporting documentation is accurate and complete. An incomplete or incorrect application can result in delays or, even worse, refusal of an application.

The Immigration Act and Regulations are the legal basis behind Canadian Immigration. Immigration is what we do all day, every day. It is our job to make sense of the Act and Regulations and apply it to your personal circumstances. There may be options available to you that you had not considered or been aware of.

Many of you reading may have had experience in calling the Canadian High Commission in London to answer a few questions. Those who have will realize that you it is extremely difficult to speak to anyone in the Immigration Department. A major benefit of using a licensed immigration consultant is that we are available to answer your questions, explain the Act and Regulations, the processes involved, time frames and different strategies to realize your goal. In some cases, we also act as relationship counselors!

Many people like to tinker with their cars but when some major work is required, they will use a mechanic. The same is similar with immigration. There is too much at stake to get it wrong. Furthermore, some applicants may have certain circumstances that require special attention. These can include applying for criminal rehabilitation for a previous conviction or custody issues for children of a previous relationship. No two people are the same and no two immigration applications are the same.

Things to look for when choosing a licensed Immigration Consultant.?

When choosing a representative, make sure to check their credentials and to discuss the specifics of your case so that you are satisfied that they can handle your application. Immigration to Canada is a major step and is something you want to ensure you do properly.

All licensed consultants are accredited with CSIC on an individual basis, not as a company. If someone claims that their company is licensed by CSIC, be wary, as this is not legal.

You should also be cautious when dealing with “agents” of Immigration Consultants. The licensed Immigration Consultant is responsible for the actions of their agents. Keep in mind that the licensed Immigration Consultant, in order to gain membership to CSIC, must show a strong enough link to Canada. The purpose of this is to ensure that they are accountable for their actions. If they are found guilty of misrepresentations or any criminal activity, they can be prosecuted under Canadian Law. They can also lose their license for ten (10) years.

The principal mandate of CSIC is consumer protection. They are there to ensure that licensed immigration consultants are giving accurate advice and providing competent services to clients. The CSIC definition is “The Rules of Professional Conduct establish the expected standard of professional conduct and competence for Immigration Consultants. The Rules also provide guidance to the profession, with the goal of protecting the public from unprofessional, improper or incompetent practice”

Immigration is one of those major events in your life, along with buying a house and getting married. You can’t afford to get it wrong.

Dennis Brazolot is a Member in Good Standing with the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC) #M041225 and the Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants (CAPIC). He can be contacted on +1 450 458 2186 or dennis@brazolotimmigration.com He travels regularly to the UK for consultations. www.BrazolotImmigration.com