- The federal government has started a new college to regulate immigration consultants and armed it with more robust authorities than in the past.
- The new college aims to root them out with brand new investigative and disciplinary powers.
The federal government has started a new college to regulate immigration consultants and armed it with more robust authorities than in the past.
Millions of immigrants and refugees often rely on consultants to help them navigate Canada’s systems. While nearly all of them work honestly, the government said a few unscrupulous actors exploit the system and take advantage of people.
The new college aims to root them out with brand new investigative and disciplinary powers. All immigration consultants should be licensed in good standing with the college to accept fees.
“We must secure those who want to come to our country, and we’re fulfilling it,” Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said in a written statement on Wednesday.
“The College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants would make sure that aspiring Canadians get the professional and right advice they deserve and strengthen our immigration system so it can fulfill the future of the Canadians.”
The college will officially open on Nov. 23 and replace the past regulator, the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council.
The college would have the ability to request the court inoculation to address unlicensed people providing immigration advice without authorization, enter offices to gather evidence, and compel witnesses to testify before the discipline committee.
The new college will also be responsible for making a new code of conduct for consultants.
In an analysis of the change, the federal government said the introduction of the new college would require a more prescriptive set of standards that all licensees must abide by and which they will be accountable to.
According to the government, the change could be particularly helpful for asylum seekers who are in Canada and who are particularly vulnerable getting their precarious immigration status and willingness to pay for a path to permanent residency.
Asylum seeks the group to turn to immigration lawyers for help more time than consultants.
“It is expected that strengthening the regulatory regime and having a new code of conduct that the college enforces would ultimately help protect this especially vulnerable group,” the government’s analysis states.
Consultants covered by the regulatory council would be instantly licensed by the college but would need to complete practice assessments and professional development.
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