Canada is all set to introduce a new legislation to hold immigration and citizenship consultants to account and to protect vulnerable people from dishonest consultants, a news release issued by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has informed. The proposed legislation is included in the 2019 Budget Implementation Act.
Under the law, the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (the College) will become the official watchdog of consultants across the country. The College will be empowered with the authority and tools needed to protect both the public and consultants in good-standing. These include “the authority for vigorous oversight, investigations and the means to root out fraudulent immigration and citizenship consultants and hold them accountable for their actions,” explains the news release.
The College will ensure that immigration and citizenship consultants operate in a professional and ethical manner. It will have the authority to enter the premises of a consultant for investigation when any wrongdoing is suspected and the ability to request court injunctions against unauthorized consultants.
The Government is also planning to entrust the College with implementing mandatory and robust training courses for those wishing to obtain an immigration and citizenship consulting license; introducing transparency on fees; establishing a better system for people to make formal complaints; and creating a victims’ compensation fund.
Further, when the proposed law comes into effect the current monetary penalty for offences will be doubled. The IRCC will be authorized to establish administrative penalties aimed at compliance with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Citizenship Act.
Besides the implementation of new legislation, Canada Government is planning to launch extensive public awareness activities that will include establishing dedicated community outreach officers in visa offices abroad, to protect susceptible people from fraudulent consulting practices.
Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, said, “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. While practicing law, I have seen the devastating effect these fraudulent “experts” have had on vulnerable people and I am committed to hold them to the highest standard. It is what is right, it is what is fair and it is time to put an end of an era of those preying on defenseless people.”
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