March is Fraud Prevention Month and this year Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has partnered with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) and the Federation of Law Societies of Canada (FLSC) to promote awareness of authorized immigration representatives and what services they can provide.
For Fraud Prevention Month 2014, CIC has developed a new video which urges newcomers to avoid becoming the victim of a “disappearing act” and explains where they can obtain information on immigration representatives that are authorized to deal with the Government of Canada.
Unscrupulous and unauthorized representatives weaken Canada’s immigration system, cost taxpayers money, and slow down the processing of valid applications. Under Canadian law, only authorized immigration representatives can charge a fee to help someone apply for a visa to come to Canada. If a newcomer uses an unauthorized representative, their application may be refused and they could risk becoming victims of fraud.
To learn more about choosing and using a representative, visit CIC’s website.
- Of nearly 6,500 permanent residents who have been flagged as being linked to major investigations, 1,894 people have withdrawn or abandoned their citizenship applications – a sign of success with our immigration fraud deterrence measures.
- Regulations, which came into force on June 30, 2011, impose penalties on unauthorized representatives who provide, or offer to provide, advice or representation for a fee at any stage of an immigration application or proceeding. If the court finds a person guilty, the following penalties would apply:
- on summary conviction, the person is subject to a fine of up to $20,000, or up to six months imprisonment, or both;
- on conviction on indictment, they are subject to a fine of up to $100,000 or up to two years imprisonment, or both.
- Bill C-24 reinforces the value of citizenship by cracking down on fraud and ensuring Canadian citizenship is only offered to those who play by the rules. Proposed measures include:
- stronger penalties for fraud and misrepresentation (a maximum fine of $100,000 and/or five years in prison);
- expanding the grounds to bar an application for citizenship to include foreign criminality which will help improve program integrity; and
- making it an offence for unauthorized individuals to knowingly represent or advise a person on a citizenship application or hearing for a fee.