Immigration consultation fraud has become a worldwide concern among prospective immigrants who seek for a greener pasture somewhere across the globe. Fallen victims of such fraudulent immigration services will leave them financially drained and depressed.
If you are equipped with proper information about immigration consultation fraud, then chasing that elusive Canadian dream or elsewhere would become within your reach. Each day, scammers are becoming smarter and they always look for innovative ways to make their business website looks genuine in the eyes of victims.
What are immigration consultation services?
Immigration services are “professional services” offered to people who want to expedite their immigration process through the assistance of third-party agencies. You are seeking for their professional services if you don’t have enough time to conduct research or prior knowledge about the immigration system of your target country.
An immigration consultant lets you know about the list of job vacancies, what official documents to prepare and when to submit these forms.
Telltale signs of a scam
Canada opened its doors to over one million immigrants in three years which started in 2017. Scammers will take advantage of this opportunity to cheat unsuspecting victims with offers that are hard to resist.
A website should not be the only basis for checking the legitimacy of an agency. Be observant, vigilant there are actions that will indicate that the immigration agency is a scammer at work. So, if you’re interested in migrating to Canada or elsewhere avoid getting swindled with this guide.
1. Offers travel and tour advice
Travel agents may act as immigration consultants who will request their victims to visit tourist attractions in Canada first before helping them with their immigration needs. These people normally talk about tourist visa application, instead of citizenship requirements.
2. Service fees for free online forms
The official site of The Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) provides downloadable forms to be filled up by an applicant at no cost. Be careful when dealing with immigration consultants that request any online payment for these necessary forms.
3. Offers vacant jobs in Canada
Accredited employment agencies are not authorized by the Canadian Government to act as immigration consultants to potential job seekers.
4. Guarantees success rate of application
No immigration consulting agency can guarantee the success of your Canadian visa application. Beware of any company that claims a 100% success rate since it’s up to the Canadian government to decide whether you have fully complied with the requirements or not.
5. False representation or lack of qualifications
Seeking the help of immigration experts may certainly expedite your application process. But only authorized representatives can offer “paid” consultation services. The following professionals are considered “authorized” to handle your immigration case:
- Certified lawyers with a good-standing record from Canadian territorial law society. Lawyers should have a valid Canadian Law Society number to practice the law profession in the country.
- Immigration consultants with a good track record from the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC)
- Notaries are officially listed in the Chamber des notaries du Quebec
6. Poses as government representatives
Some immigration consultants behave like they are from the Canadian government, reminding the applicants about missing a payment due or failing to submit certain documents in between. Watch out for request of an additional payment that seems like a bribe to prevent further delays of your application.
7. Suspicious website and use of generic emails
Immigration scammers are getting technically-equipped each day, so be careful of those professional-sounding names and email contacts. The use of Hotmail or Yahoo email contacts is often perceived as less professional, thus making them highly suspicious.
Legitimate websites that are HTTPS secure are perceived as a trustworthy source since this additional layer of security feature will make it difficult for scammers to steal your private information, particularly credit card. So when considering hiring an immigrant consultant, make sure that it is HTTPS-supported. Aside from this, always verify if all contact details including business address and contact numbers are reachable.
8. Unsolicited calls
Watch out for unsolicited calls from people claiming to be IRCC officials who may demand additional fees from you for failing to submit certain documents in the midst of your visa application. Here are reminders when dealing with suspicious IRCC employees asking about the status of your application:
- IRCC will only contact you if you’ve missed any important document to be submitted.
- IRCC will not call you to verify any information you’ve written over the application form.
- Never disclose any private information such as passport details or credit card information as scammers may utilize the information to impersonate you on other transactions.
- The name of the consultant or agency the person is claiming to represent is not officially registered under Canada’s governing body.
Thankfully, the Canadian government continues to take part in combating these growing immigration issues that have already affected millions of innocent people around the world.