CIC public consultation highlights need for action on immigration ghost agents
TORONTO, Dec. 21 /CNW/ – The release of Citizenship and Immigration Canada's summary of its public consultation on the use of immigration consultants, lawyers and other representatives illustrates the need for the government to take concrete action to stop unauthorized immigration representatives known as ghost agents.
Roughly three quarters of those who participated in the consultation process indicated that they had hired the services of an immigration consultant.
“Unfortunately, the results of the consultation process do not differentiate between legitimate immigration consultants who are members of the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC) and ghost agents who pose as immigration consultants. CSIC has been advocating for changes that would put ghost agents out of business and we also spend considerable resources to inform the public about how best to protect themselves,” said John Ryan, CSIC Chair and Acting CEO. “We continue to work with the government and other key stakeholders to address this issue.”
When hiring an immigration consultant ensure that they are CSIC members because they are the only immigration consultants authorized to appear before the Canadian government.
“CSIC's mandate is to protect consumers of immigration consulting services through the accreditation and education of its members. It falls to the government of Canada to ensure that ghost agents do not practice,” said Ryan. “Recognizing that the Citizenship and Immigration website is considered a valuable source of immigration information, the government should consider making a stronger distinction between a registered immigration consultant and a ghost agent more obvious to the public,” said Ryan.
The Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants is the professional regulatory body for immigration consultants in Canada. Established in 2004 it currently has close to 1600 members. CSIC's mandate is to protect consumers of immigration consulting services. Consequently, it is responsible for ensuring the education, competency testing and the discipline of its members. CSIC also requires its members to carry errors and omissions insurance and to contribute to a compensation fund.
For further information: Nancy Tibbo, (416) 572-2800, Toll Free: 1-866-308-CSIC (2252), firstname.lastname@example.org