Let us combat immigration fraud

Immigration Matters:  Sukhram Ramkissoon

 Let us combat immigration fraud

Sukhram Ramkissoon

During my many years as an immigration consultant, I have been harshly critical in my columns of the unscrupulous and unethical practices of unregulated persons who hold themselves as immigration experts.  These “experts” prey on  innocent, non-status   persons who are  desperate to become permanent residents of Canada.

In a recent  article issued on  March 1, 2021,the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) stated that it is pleased to again participate in Canada’s National Fraud Prevention Month, in collaboration with the Competition Bureau, the RCMP and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.  The ICCRC website has highlighted about 20  tips on “How to Prevent Immigration Fraud” and I urge readers to please acquainted  yourselves with  this information before retaining a representative to assist you in applying for permanent residence.

The ICCRC was established in 2011 and is the regulatory body that promotes and protects the public interest by overseeing regulated immigrant and citizenship consultants and international student advisors.   My daughter, Cindy Ramkissoon-Shears, my   son, Ronald Ramkissoon and I have been proud members of ICCRC since its incorporation and continue to be members in good standing.

An ICCRC release noted, there are many forms of fraud and scams which have long-lasting consequences for their victims, and immigration fraud can have devastating impacts on individuals and families hoping to make Canada their home. One common example  is the impersonation of immigration consultants. The council has requested that potential clients consult its registry to identity registered immigration consultants.

John Murray, President & CEO of ICCRC states that “there is a concern that the public is confused about who is legally authorized to provide immigration consulting services, especially in countries where an “agent” is used more commonly than a RCIC (Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant).” He further states “our goal is to educate the public to use our Public Register to verify their immigration consultant and differentiate between RCIC, agent and the unauthorized.”

To support its message, ICCRC has launched several initiatives this month including an international digital campaign to target aspiring immigrants, international students, and temporary workers as well as a social media campaign  on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn, to share fraud prevention tips in languages spoken by potential immigrants.  

The ICCRC release also stated  that after a successful collaboration with representatives from the High Commission of Canada in India, which delivered joint webinars in the Punjab region and educating the public on using authorized representatives, they are  in the process of developing videos in Hindi and Punjabi to further inform this audience and promote the Safe Migration to Canada app.

The release also stated that this has been an incredibly positive partnership as they work towards mitigating the impact of immigration fraud by empowering prospective immigrants with information. ICCRC stated that they look forward to expanding on these efforts globally and with other immigration stakeholders.

I agree with ICCRC that public participation is crucial to  reduce immigration fraud. The public must take the time to learn how to protect themselves, friends and family members against immigration fraud and to share ICCRC’s message by using the hashtag, #VerifyYourImmConsultant and #FightImmFraud in their social media posts, If you are interested in obtaining more information on this topic, visit the ICCRC website in their Fraud Prevention section.

Those representing themselves as immigration consultants or agents, who are not members of ICCRC or known to ICCRC as agents, not only negatively affect the public.  This also negatively affects the regulated immigration consulting profession.  Those who are regulated and those in the legal profession must come together as a community, and fight against immigration fraud.

SUKHRAM RAMKISSOON is a member of ICCRC and specialises in Immigration Matters at No. 3089 Bathurst Street, Suite 219A, Toronto, Ontario, Phone 416 789 5756.