Immigration Fraud — Protect Yourself!

Don’t be the victim of a scam

If the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Beware of immigration fraud and scams

You may have seen advertisements that promise work permits and guarantee high-paying jobs in Canada. Some offer scholarships to study at Canadian universities or colleges. Potential newcomers to Canada should be aware that many offers like these are fraudulent. In fact, using the services of people who make such promises may result in your application to Canada being rejected.

Canada’s immigration system is based on fairness. Every application receives equal consideration. No one has special connections, and no one can promise your application will be given special treatment or guarantee that it will be approved.

What you need to know

  • You are not obliged to hire a representative, including a consultant, lawyer, Quebec notary or paralegal regulated by a law society, to apply for a visa or for Canadian citizenship, but if you do, choose carefully.
  • Representatives do not have special connections with Canadian government officials and cannot guarantee you a visa. Nobody can guarantee you a visa.
  • Only Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) officers can decide whether or not to issue a visa. Don’t be tempted into using false documents. It is a serious crime to misrepresent yourself by making false statements or submitting false documents when dealing with CIC. If you do this, your application will be refused. You will also face serious consequences. Depending on the situation, these may include:
    • no entry into Canada for at least five years;
    • a permanent record of fraud in CIC’s database;
    • revocation of your permanent resident status or Canadian citizenship;
    • being charged with a crime; or
    • removal from Canada.
  • Do not enter into a marriage that is not genuine in order to obtain permanent residence in Canada. Beware of Internet scams and false websites. The official CIC website is
  • You will find free information for any type of visa on CIC’s website.
  • Processing fees are the same at all Canadian visa offices around the world. Fees in local currency are based on official exchange rates and correspond with the standard fee charged in Canadian dollars.
  • Canadian visa offices will never ask you to deposit money into an individual’s personal bank account or to transfer money through aspecific private money transfer company.
  • If you have questions, contact CIC or the visa office responsible for your area.

Choosing a representative, a consultant or a lawyer

If you do decide to hire a representative, choose carefully:

  • Ask someone you trust to recommend someone;
  • Talk to several representatives before you decide which one to hire; check references and find out how long they have been in business;
  • Make sure you understand exactly what services they will provide, and how much they will charge you. Get this information in writing.
  • Make sure they are authorized by the Government of Canada.

The only people authorized by the Government of Canada to charge a fee to represent or advise you on immigration, refugee and citizenship matters are:

  • lawyers and paralegals who are members in good standing of a Canadian provincial or territorial law society;
  • notaries who are members in good standing of the Chambre des notaires du Québec; and
  • citizenship or immigration consultants who are members in good standing of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council.

The Government of Canada will not deal with unauthorized representatives who charge a fee for their services.

To find out whether the person you are thinking of hiring to represent you is authorized by the Government of Canada, ask if they are members of one of the organizations listed above. You can then check with the organization to make sure the person is a member in good standing. Contact information for all of these organizations can be found on the CIC website at

Once you have chosen a representative, make sure the representative updates you on your application on a regular basis. Remember—you must accept responsibility for all the information in your application whether you complete it or it is completed by your representative. It is against the law to give false or misleading information to Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

How to report immigration fraud

You can report immigration fraud by calling the Border Watch Tip Line at 1-888-502-9060. All information is treated as confidential.

To read more, including information on who can legally represent you if you choose to hire an immigration representative, please visit the CIC website at

© Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, 2012
Cat No. Ci4-12/2012
ISBN 978-1-100-20369-0

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