What can education agents do or not do with regards to Canadian immigration matters?

English: Diefenbaker Canada Centre University ...
English: Diefenbaker Canada Centre University of Saskatchewan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Education agents often ask me what they are permitted to do for their student clients with regards to Canadian immigration advice or assistance. The simple answer is that they can do very little, if anything, unless they are legally authorised. To be clear, international students seeking to study in Canada are subject to Canadian immigration law. As such, as an education agent, it is important that you know what your obligations are.

Canada is a popular destination not only for international students but also for millions of others seeking to immigrate under a number of other immigration categories. This is an ideal environment for unscrupulous individuals posing as authorised Canadian immigration representatives who would recklessly give false hope to many would-be immigrants. Sadly, the result is that they are often defrauded of their life savings – with dreams of living in Canada utterly destroyed. 

The Government of Canada is very aware of this issue and in 2011 passed new legislation—Bill C-35—that amended the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and its regulations by making it illegal for anyone other than an authorised immigration representative to provide immigration advice or otherwise represent a client during an application or proceeding. This legislation is so strict that it even applies to anyone who gives paid advice before the client applies for the immigration process. If convicted, penalties can be as high as a CAN$100,000 (US$91,943) and/or two years in prison.

Authorised immigration representatives permitted to charge a fee or receive any other type of payment are:
•lawyers and paralegals who are members in good standing of a Canadian provincial or territorial law society,
•notaries who are members in good standing of the Chambre des notaires du Québec and
•immigration consultants who are members in good standing of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council.

Federal and Provincial governments in Canada will not deal with representatives who charge for immigration related services and are not members of one of the above groups. In fact, the Canadian government has taken the extra step of notifying other countries of these protective measures in an effort to educate their own citizens considering immigration to Canada and to assist in tracking down unscrupulous individuals claiming to be authorised Canadian immigration representatives. 

Here are two helpful lists about what education agents can and cannot do:

What can education agents do under Canadian law?*
•Direct someone to appropriate resources including to an authorised immigration representative
•Provide translation services
•Provide courier services
•Provide medical services (e.g., medical exams)
•Make travel arrangements
•Advise an international student on how to select their courses or register

What are education agents not permitted to do under Canadian law?*
•Explain and/or provide advice on someone’s immigration options
•Provide guidance to a client on how to select the best immigration stream
•Complete/submit immigration forms on a client’s behalf
•Communicate with government including Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency on a client’s behalf (except for direct translation)
•Represent a client in an immigration application or proceeding
•Advertise that they can provide immigration advice or assistance

*For current accuracy, always check with the Canadian government directly.”

By George Bazios is Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant specialising in student immigration matters.

Source: http://www.hothousemedia.com/stmnews/pastissues/140529/view.htm

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