Saturday, April 17, 2010

Regulator Cautions the Public: Only Use Immigration Representatives Authorized by the Canadian Government

/CNW/ - The RCMP charged an uncertified immigration consultant in Windsor with fraud yesterday, prompting the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC) to warn consumers who might decide to hire a paid immigration representative to only hire one that is authorized by the Canadian Government.
Francesco Salvatore (Sam) Burgio is facing eleven charges for fraud after clients allegedly paid his firm thousands of dollars to submit their immigration applications and got no service in return. CSIC revoked Burgios membership in 2006.
That should have set off red flags for anybody who was considering hiring him, said John Ryan, CSIC Chair and Acting CEO. Most people would never consider hiring an unlicenced doctor or lawyer, and consumers need to realize that hiring an uncertified immigration consultant is just as unwise. Its easy to check because there is a list of all current and former members on the CSIC website.
Only members of CSIC, a provincial or territorial bar, or Quebec notaries can advise, represent or consult clients on immigration matters before the Government of Canada for a fee.
CSIC membership is important because CSIC members must meet rigorous ongoing educational requirements and adhere to strict Rules of Professional Conduct. In addition, CSIC provides extensive consumer protection measures by offering a complaints and discipline process, requiring members to carry errors and omissions insurance and maintaining a client compensation fund.
Unfortunately uncertified immigration consultants, known as ghost agents, have exploited legal loopholes that allow them to continue offering immigration services with little danger of law enforcement taking action.
CSIC has long advocated for legislative changes that would introduce penalties for those who pretend to be Certified Canadian Immigration Consultants. We look forward to the changes promised by the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism.
The Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants is the professional regulatory body for Certified Canadian Immigration Consultants. Established in 2004 it currently has nearly 1,700 members. CSICs mandate is to protect consumers of immigration consulting services. Consequently, it is responsible for ensuring the education, competency testing and the discipline of its members. CSIC also requires its members to carry errors and omissions insurance and to contribute to a compensation fund. The best way to find a CCIC is via CSICs toll free referral line, 1-877-311-7926.