One of the so called "stake holders" are immigration consultants. They are an unlicensed, oftentimes unscrupulous, and still largely unregulated body of alleged professionals whose sole product of sale is Canadian citizenship. They regularly advise their clients on how to abuse the immigration system and to make fake refugee claims when all else fails which is met with the willing participation of the immigrant. Since the Conservative government has made initiatives to fix Canada's mess of a system they should maintain the momentum and go after immigration consultants. Here is a Toronto Star article that exposes some problems that plague the immigration consultancy profession.
Immigration watchdog needs clout, panel told
Call for fledgling consultants' group to be scrapped or given more teeth to tackle dishonest advisers
Apr 10, 2008 04:30 AM
The fledgling Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants should be scrapped or laws changed to give it, or another oversight body, teeth to go after unscrupulous and unregistered advisers, a travelling parliamentary committee was told yesterday.
The society, set up as a corporation four years ago, has faced dissent by members and former board members over how it has been run, and, despite several attempts, has been unable to hold an annual meeting due to lack of a quorum.
We learn that this regulatory body was set up four years ago. This means that up to that point the immigration consultant "profession" has been operating without any form of checks and balances, no laws, and no punitive system for unethical conduct. To the point, it was out of control and apparently still operates that way as the new corporation lacks any clout with some calling for its dismemberment.
In Lost in Migration, a 2007 Star investigative series into the immigration consulting industry, the newspaper found the regulatory model set up with the blessing of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, has no ability to go after "ghosts" – non-member consultants, who continue to charge fees and offer unofficial immigration assistance, both in Canada and abroad.
While there are 1,277 consultants registered to represent clients before the Canadian immigration department – many offering much-needed help navigating the country's sometimes complicated immigration system – the number of ghosts is much larger and difficult to pin down, particularly abroad.
The referred to investigation can be read here.
Malcolm Heins, chief executive officer of the Law Society of Upper Canada, which recently began overseeing Ontario's 2,000 paralegals, told the committee the government should scrap the model and start over, with a legislated statute that could be used to go after anyone offering immigration help without proper certification.
The problem with immigration consultancy is that anybody can be one without any certification or license whatsoever. This is why there are more "ghosts" than there are registered members. That's why unethical conduct plagues the "profession." The government needs to step in and regulate them via legislature and overseen by an impartial watchdog. Canadian citizenship is a public trust in desperate need of safe guarding. Since Canada's immigration system has turned into an industry, where Canadian citizenship is the product being bought and sold in some fashion, Canadian citizenship has been devalued with much thanks directed at immigration consultants. Immigration consultants need to be regulated and licensed. Anyone operation without one should be fined and/or jailed. Any consultant who has been found to act unethically and not in the interests of Canadians would lose their license and livelihood. Any immigrant who sought the advice of an unregulated and unlicensed consultant should be turned away and told to find one who does. This way the unlicensed consultant would lose business and thus purge the "profession" of unscrupulous individuals via market forces. These measures are needed to fix the mess and estrange Canadian citizenship from the mere product it has become.
Immigration is a sovereignty issue. Those who have the potential to undermine that need government regulation. This is our country and it is possible to lose it.
The unethical and out of control world of Canada's immigration consultants.