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Thursday, June 13th, 2013

EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS – YOU’RE LIKELY BREAKING THE LAW ……. Commentary from Cathryn Sawicki, Immigration and Citizenship Law

Any educational institution, private or public, that assists int’l students with their immigration documentation is likely breaking the law.

Many educational institutions employ “student advisors” at their schools, and “agents” abroad, and as most of these people are unauthorized representatives, this is against the law.

You will note that this law has been in effect for two years, so if a law exists, but isn’t being enforced, does it really exist? Well, I’m here to tell you that “the times, they are a changin’” (Thanks Bob!).

Legislation passed in June 2011 clearly stated that only members in good standing of a law society of a province or territory (lawyers and paralegals), the Chambre des notaries du Quebec, or members of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC), are authorized to assist on any and all immigration applications – this includes Study Permits, Post-Graduate Work Permits, etc.

The Government recently released a letter which states:

CIC recognizes that educational institutions and international student advisors have provided advice to international students in good faith. That said, these legislative changes apply across the board to all persons subject to Canadian law. The ultimate goal is to protect clients, including international students, and to ensure that those providing advice are all subject to the same requirements and achieve the level of expertise necessary to assist in often complex immigration matters.

(The entire letter can be accessed as an attachment at the bottom of this article)

The Federal Government wants to ensure this vulnerable sector isn’t taken advantage of, which is admirable. A secondary incentive to enforcing this legislative change would be to penalise those who don’t comply. Most educational institutions are vulnerable to significant financial penalties.

It’s important to note that the law states “no person shall knowingly, directly or indirectly, represent or advise a person for consideration”. Many educational institutions pay “agents” abroad to recruit students and assist them with their immigration process, and thus, it appears that the institution would be in violation of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

The Government of Canada has begun to enforce this new provision, so be certain that your educational institution complies with the law.

(This guest commentary was submitted by Cathryn Sawicki, a lawyer with Fogler, Rubinoff in Toronto.)

While guest commentaries do not necessarily represent the views of “Overseas, Overwhelmed”, we welcome submissions at any time. Please contact editor@OverseasOverwhelmed.com

C-35 Letter to CCIEM – May 24 2013 1

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