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Canadian Universities and colleges feel the need for Immigration Authorized Representatives

Canadian Universities feel hamstrung by the provisions of the Bill C-35, that prohibit their employees from providing Immigration-related advice to their students.

Bill C-35 introduced penalties for individuals, other than Immigration Authorized Representatives if they provide advice on any matter related to immigration. Examples of this include advice on applying for a visa, work permit or permanent residence.

Authorized Representatives, as defined in s. 91 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA – the law governing immigration to Canada) include:

  1. Lawyers in all provinces of Canada;
  2. Members in good standing of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC); and
  3. Paralegals in Ontario

ICCRC, as the recently appointed national regulator of Canadian Immigration Consultants has repeatedly clarified the above in its advisories for various industry stakeholders like educational agents, travel agents, etc. However, the Universities couldn’t ignore the direction from the government i.e. Citizenship & Immigration Canada (CIC).

According to an article in The Chronicle Herald, Universities feel hamstrung by the above restriction. [Click here for full article.]

In fairness, the Universities face a business decision and have a no. of options:

1. Ensure that their existing staff meets the requirements of s. 91 and trains to become an AR.

2. Appoint ARs as their full-time staff (when the staff at option 1 resigns) – Many larger universities have added this as a minimum recruitment requirement.

3. Enter into contract with experienced self-employed ICCRC members to act as ARs – easy compliance with same costs.

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The author, Deepak Kohli  is a member in good standing of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC).