Immigration consultants violating rules of private refugee sponsorship program

In a recent news bulletin by CBC News, it was discovered that “professional immigration consultants, in partnership with some refugee sponsorship groups, are charging refugees thousands of dollars in arrangements that critics say are unethical and violate federal rules on sponsorship.”

In the bulletin, it was expressed that these immigration consultancies have been specifically targeting Syrians who live in the Gulf States – especially those who are there on work permits and are able to earn a living. What is even more worrisome, is that they are targeting a potentially more lucrative client base than those in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. CBC further revealed that the consultants not only charge prospective refugees thousands of dollars to process their applications but also ask them to pay the full cost of their resettlement up front, which violates the financial guidelines of the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program.

Toronto lawyer Jackie Swaisland commented; "I find it appalling, honestly." According to the stringent laws that the government of Canada has put in place, these practices are severely punishable.

The ICCRC’s perspective

According to the law, Canadian immigration consultants are accredited by a regulatory council that oversees approximately 3,600 members. This council is called the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) and is the only official body designated by the Canadian government to oversee, provide and regulate Canadian immigration, citizenship and international student advising services. The council's communications director, Daniel Roukema, was unable to comment on this particular situation unless a formal complaint has been lodged and investigated but did however highlight the fact that the council's guidelines do state that fees "must be fair and reasonable." The ICCRC’s main objective is to safeguard immigrants from these types of malpractice and charlatans and therefore, it is always advisable to be extremely cautious when dealing with an unknown immigration consultancy. First and foremost, immigrants need to ensure that the consultancy has at least one registered and active member of the council. Here at, we have not only one registered member of the ICCRC, but two of them. Ms. Marian De Vera (#R510661) and David Allon (#R510661) work according to a strict code of conduct which is duly enforced by the ICCRC, ensuring that your interests are protected and you are working with a knowledgeable and fully competent professional. Our RCICs remain in good standing with the authorities, guaranteeing that they are always working for your best interests.