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Proposed new law will protect prospective immigrants and the Canadian immigration system

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Those wishing to immigrate to Canada will soon be better protected against fraud and exploitation by “crooked consultants”. On June 8, 2010, Minister of Immigration Jason Kenney proposed a new law, the “Cracking Down on Crooked Consultants Act”, that will make it a criminal offense for unauthorized individuals to charge money to provide immigration advice and services. This new law will reinforce the integrity and fairness of Canada’s immigration system. 

“Crooked immigration consultants victimize people who dream of immigrating to Canada,” said Minister of Immigration, Jason Kenney. There had been stories of unscrupulous immigration consultants who took advantage of prospective immigrants. These underground, unauthorized consultants, referred to as “ghost consultants”,  sell fraudulent advice, produce counterfeit documents, or encourage their clients to lie on the application forms. It had been reported also that “ghost consultants” were taking advantage of the system by taking payment from applicants without completing or submitting any paperwork. 

The “Cracking Down on Crooked Consultants Act” will both better protect prospective immigrants from “ghost consultants” and help protect our immigration system from fraud and abuse.Under this proposed new law, only lawyers, Quebec notaries, and authorized consultants will be able to charge fees to assist prospective immigrants with their applications to immigrate to Canada. The name of anyone who takes payment for assistance before or during the immigration application process must appear on the application form.  Unauthorized individuals who provide immigration services for a fee will face criminal charges and be subject to a $50,000 fine or 2 years in jail, or both. The applicant’s visa will be refused or taken away if any false information is supplied. 

The law will also permit the Minister to designate a body to govern immigration consultants and establish measures to better oversee and regulate this organization.  

Unpaid third parties, such as family members, friends and not-for-profit community groups, who provide immigration services, would not be affected by the new law.