Two days ago I met with an individual who claimed to have received horrible treatment from two separate immigration consultants in Metro Vancouver. The specific alleged deplorable actions included that:
- Consultant A refused to give the individual her Visitor Record until she paid him $2,000.00.
- Consultant A refused to provide her with a BC PNP refusal letter, and to this day has not provided a copy of the refusal letter.
- Consultant B refused to submit a response to a BC PNP fairness letter without receiving a large payment that was not mentioned in the retainer agreement.
- Consultant B refused to meet with her once the application was refused.
Both of these consultants are licensed consultants and members of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (“ICCRC“). I recommended that the individual file complaints against both consultants. Unfortunately, my recommendation came with the caveat that to my knowledge the ICCRC has not once yet disciplined a single consultant against whom a complaint was filed.
When I went to the ICCRC website to confirm this, I discovered that the ICCRC has in fact initiated disciplinary proceedings against seven individuals. As of writing, none of the proceedings have concluded, and it will be very interesting to see what sanctions the ICCRC imposes, if any.
In British Columbia, the Law Society of British Columbia (the “LSBC“) just suspended a lawyer for six months, and ordered him to also pay $20,000 in costs.
I’ve often said that until immigration consultants fear being disciplined by the ICCRC in the same way that lawyers try to avoid running afoul of the LSBC that the integrity of the immigration consulting profession will be severely limited. I continue to think this. There are many good immigration consultants out there, however, I believe that their profession’s image is being badly maligned by several unscrupulous individuals, and a regulatory body that (so far) has not appeared to take action against what is occurring.
[Update – September 13, 2014]
This post has generated considerable feedback from immigration consultants. The responses have ranged from those who perceive the post as an unwarranted and unfair attack on immigration consultants to those who have thanked me for calling for greater sanction for unscrupulous licensed consultants. As one consultant said, “it would be nice to see some hefty fines on ICCRC website.”
I do want to reword the following sentence from the original post:
I’ve often said that until immigration consultants fear being disciplined by the ICCRC in the same way that lawyers try to avoid running afoul of the LSBC that the integrity of the immigration consulting profession will be severely limited.
This did not properly convey my perspective. It should have stated: “I’ve often said that until immigration consultants fear being disciplined by the ICCRC in the same way that lawyers try to avoid running afoul of the LSBC, then a small minority of licensed consultants acting with seeming impunity will ruin it for the vast majority of ethical consultants, as the unfortunate consequences will be that the public’s perception of the integrity of the immigration consulting profession will be severely limited.”
I do want to thank one consultant who sent me the following excerpt from the ICCRC’s 2013 report, which details the results of all ICCRC complaints filed since its inception.
[Update – September 23, 2014]
An ICCRC representative just informed me that the ICCRC has in fact levelled significant sanctions against two licensed consultants. The first was a temporary suspension. During the period of the suspension, the person’s name was listed on the ICCRC website as being suspended. Once the suspension was over, the ICCRC and the consultant agreed to take it down. The second individual has agreed to “voluntarily” permanently withdraw his ICCRC membership.