Immigration and Employment Services

Who Has the Right to Offer Advice and to Represent Immigrants?

Anyone. Canada is a country that guarantees extensive liberties to its citizens, and when it comes to giving advice. And no one can prohibit that, just like no one can force someone to ask for advice. When it comes to immigration issues, there is no special interpretation for the general rights and freedoms that people here have. What do legal government regulations have to say about that? We find that, a person who wishes to submit an application to obtain permanent status in Canada, is not obligated to use the help and expertise of specialized representatives, advisors, or immigration consultants. At the same time, the Canadian government is required to treat all applicants equally, whether they make use of the services of a specialist or not. However, in most cases it is worthwhile to ask for assistance from someone who can represent an immigrant, thereby avoiding all kinds of mistakes that can be made when you are not familiar with Canadian immigration law, with its implemented changes, as well as all necessary procedures and practices.

Legal regulations differentiate between two groups of people who are qualified to represent immigrants. They are characterized under these headings:

1. Those who can be compensated for their services;

2. Those who cannot be compensated for their services.

Therefore, the main criterion is the right to collect payment for services provided to the applicant. Within the first group are individuals who are authorized as:

1. Lawyers, members of the Canadian Bar Association, as well as students-at-law working under the direction of recognized lawyer;

2. Immigration Consultants who are members of the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants;

3. Notaries in the province of Quebec, as well as students-at-law working under their direction.

Within the second group are private individuals or social organizations, for example:

1. Various non-religious and non-government associations;

2. Friends and acquaintances;

3. Family members.

This group of representatives does not need any special legal authorization. However, each person who wishes to use their assistance MUST make a written statement to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to disclose their information with the person who is representing them. This can be done on a special form: IMM 5476B. The advisors from this group cannot – which must be again emphasized – collect a payment of any sort from their “clients” for any assistance rendered. It is important to note two points:

1. This group of advisors does not actually bear any responsibility for any mistakes within the application process, because they act in “good faith” and with the agreement of the applicant;

2. Non-professional advisors may not be up-to-date with immigration law and may not be familiar with the current trends and notions of the Canadian government regarding demographic and economic issues, in which immigration plays an important role.

In consideration of these stipulations, a potential applicant should seriously consider whether it is wise to take the risk of saving money by not employing the assistance of a professional in a matter as important as immigration.

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