The Government of Canada has taken action to hold consulting profession to a higher standard. In November 2021, Canada marked a new feat when the new College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants was established.
It is the official regulator of immigration and citizenship consultants and it has the power and tools to investigate professional misconduct and to discipline its licenses. It will also be subject to significant government oversight to ensure public protection.
The College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants has launched a global digital campaign to help fight against immigration fraud and it will do this by educating and sensitizing the public on the dangers of using unauthorized practitioners to assist with their immigration applications.
The campaign includes Canadian foreign missions that will coordinate with partners overseas to increase awareness of how people can protect themselves.
The college has said that all immigration consultants whether domestically or abroad that provides Canadian immigration and citizenship services must have license given by the college.
The college’s chair of the board of directors said in a statement that “this is why we have engaged an influencer and launched a global digital media ad campaign so that our message can reach those outside of Canada and who may not otherwise know what the college is or does.”
The campaign comes after the Immigration Minister, Sean Fraser’s comments suggesting fraud continues to be a common and serious crime in Canada.
He said in a statement on Tuesday when marking Fraud Prevention Month “Canada’s immigration system can be complex and navigating it alone can be daunting. Unfortunately, many unlicensed consultants are eager to exploit inexperience and anxiety for their own gain.”
Each year in March, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) actively participates in the Government of Canada’s Fraud Prevention Month to shed more light on the risks associated with fraud and the ways newcomers can protect themselves. The best way to be protected from this fraud is to be informed and prepared.
He further added that “Canada has also taken decisive action by investing $51.9 million to improve oversight, strengthen enforcement, and increase accountability to protect the public from dishonest consultants who take advantage of vulnerable newcomers.”
In early February, the minister also announced that Canada aims at attracting about 1.3 million new immigrants within the next three years to help fill up labour shortages in the country and help it bounce back from the pandemic hit.
Even with the new immigration target, the government is still struggling to clear a backlog of nearly two million visa, citizenship and immigration applications which was as a result of the pandemic.
Canadian Foreign Missions
In the college’s effort to fight against immigration fraud, it is looking to expand its outreach with Canadian foreign missions.
The president and CEO of the college, John Murray said “we have developed a great partnership with the High Commission of Canada in India and continue to expand our outreach with other foreign missions. This has resulted in increased awareness of the college at ground level.”
He further said that “it can be challenge to get our message to communities in foreign jurisdictions, so we are pleased to have this relationship with the High Commission. It is important that we reach audiences that really need to hear our messages so that they can take steps to protect themselves against fraudulent actors.”