Moving to a new a country can be incredibly exciting, but be careful not to let the excitement get in the way of the tedious details. One of the first and most important steps in immigrating to Canada is to get your paperwork in order. Canadian immigration policies seem to get more proactive every year, continually introducing new programs for immigrants.
These options are good news for prospective immigrants, but they also make for an overwhelming range of possibilities and application processes. In order to navigate this bureaucratic maze more smoothly, many people decide to hire professional help. As it happens, finding an immigration consultant can be a daunting process in itself.
The Wide World of Canadian Immigration Consultants
If you peruse the internet and social media networks looking for Canadian immigration advice, you will quickly discover thousands of sites and organizations. But when you look more closely, you’ll find that many of them are not even located in North America. The physical address, often buried somewhere in the fine print, ends up being in India or Bulgaria.
Canada has become a hot destination for immigrants around the world, especially Asia and Eastern Europe, and that’s a good thing. But if you’re going to hire a professional to help with your immigration process, you need someone in Canada, and it’s imperative that you find a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCIC).
The Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC)
As with many industries (banking and health care, for example), Canada has very strict regulations on the immigration law and consultation. For the purpose of protecting consumers, the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) works together with the federal government to ensure that anyone practicing immigration law or offering immigration consultation is properly trained and qualified. By hiring a licensed RCIC, you can be sure that you have a knowledgeable advocate on your side, someone intimately familiar with the ever-changing landscape of Canadian immigration, who has your best interests at heart.
If you take a quick look online, you’ll see—as I did—that there are countless websites offering immigration services and making no mention of the ICCRC. For your own good, we strongly advise against working with anyone who is not an RCIC, licensed by the ICCRC. If they are licensed, this should be evident immediately on their profile or website.
It is an offense punishable by law to provide Canadian immigration services for a fee or other consideration if not regulated by the ICCRC, a Canadian law society, or the Chambre des notaires du Québec.
Unfortunately however, crooks and swindlers are taking advantage of naive would-be immigrants, committing fraud, making unfounded promises and charging substantial fees for their unqualified services. The best way to avoid this and protect yourself is by hiring a RCIC.
What is different about an RCIC?
A licensed RCIC can provide you with better immigration counseling for a number of reasons.
- They are strictly regulated by a federal agency, ensuring that they are highly trained and knowledgeable.
- They work directly with Canadian Immigration Authorities, to be sure your documents are filed properly.
- Because they are intimately familiar with the process, they can make sure that you know all the options, and choose an immigration strategy that is best for your circumstances.
- With their close ties to the Canadian Immigration Authorities, they handle all the communications so you don’t have to wait in line and make endless phone calls.
At ARIANNE, we are NOT Immigration Consultants, and therefore not affiliated with the ICCRC. Since 1997, we have provided relocation and destination services to thousands of satisfied customers. We typically work with clients who already have their immigration documents in order. In many cases, their employers helped them obtain work visas. In some instances, they are Canadians who have been living and working outside the country for a decade or two, and need help transitioning back into Canadian society.
We help these people with all the other aspects of their relocation to Canada, such as finding housing, understanding the healthcare system, researching schools and daycare, and generally getting familiar with how things work in Canada.
See also our article on The Importance of Hiring a Relocation Specialist.
How do I find an RCIC?
The most reliable way to find a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant is through the ICCRC website. They maintain a registry of consultants you can refer to, and they have member throughout the country. If you’re looking at immigration service providers online, make certain that the company and its staff are certified by the ICCRC. With any reputable agency, this should be very clear on the first page of their website. Unfortunately, there are a growing number of agencies offering to process immigration applications for a fee, but are not licensed or regulated by any official government body.
If you need more help once your immigration papers have been processed and approved, please contact us. ARIANNE has been helping families and professionals relocate to Canada for more than 20 years, and we have a wide range of products and services to help make your move to Canada as smooth and successful as possible.
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