Cracking down on fraudulent immigration consultants

Many in Toronto’s Caribbean community  have been complaining about fraudulent immigration consultants.

Sukhram Ramkissoon, in his  widely read Immigration Matters column, has written time and time again about some of these unscrupulous dealers in fraud who took money from  various persons and never did the work for which they were paid.

And there are horror stories circulating in the community about fraudsters who continue to cause distress to person seeking help with various immigration problems.

One  notorious  fraudster, now deceased, was reported to have taken large sums of money from various clients and told them that they did not have to show up for their immigration interviews as their matters were already “fixed up” with the “big man” upstairs.

Many believed what this dealer in fraud was telling them, failed to show up for their hearings and were later arrested and deported.

Too many innocent people in our Caribbean community have fallen prey to these  crooks.

And  so we welcome the news that the government of Canada will now be cracking down on the fraudulent immigration consultants.

Such action is long overdue.

According to a news release from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, the Canadian government  is taking “decisive action” to hold immigration consultants to account and to protect the public from dishonest consultants who take advantage of vulnerable people.

And towards this end there are plans to create a new “watchdog of consultants.”

Proposed legislation will create a new statutory framework to regulate immigration and citizenship consultants, making a newly-created College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants  the “official watchdog.”

The  College, the news release explains, will have the power and tools it needs to protect both the public and consultants in good-standing, including the authority for vigorous oversight, investigations and the means to root out fraudulent immigration and citizenship consultants and hold them accountable for their actions.

It  noted that consumer protection will be at the core and the primary purpose of the College to help ensure that immigration and citizenship consultants operate in a professional and ethical manner and that the proposed legislation will give the College the ability to enter the premises of a consultant to investigate when it suspects wrongdoing and to request court injunctions against unauthorized consultants.

The proposed legislation will also  provide new authority to the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to establish administrative penalties aimed at compliance with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Citizenship Act.

In addition, the Government will “engage closely” with the College to implement mandatory training courses for those wishing to obtain an immigration and citizenship consulting license; introduce transparency on fees; establish a better system for people to make formal complaints; and create a victims’ compensation fund.

We look forward to the speedy introduction of these measures to deal with the crooks in our midst.

We are pleased to note that the Government  also plans to launch extensive public awareness activities to help prevent  people from falling victim to fraudulent consulting practices.

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen has pointed out that  ” these changes will protect both Canadians and prospective newcomers as well as the many consultants in good-standing that are providing immigration and citizenship services ethically and professionally.”

As Hussen  noted last week, it istime to put an end of an era of those preying on defenseless people.”

We agree. It is high time for action to rid the country if these fraudulent immigration consultants.