Use of representatives: Initial screening

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

The following should be verified on the IMM 5476:

  • Compensated representatives must be members in good standing. The name of the representative should be checked online to validate their status with the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC), a provincial or territorial law society or the Chambre des notaires du Québec (available in French only). The representative’s unique identification format should be checked using the guidelines under Authorized representative membership formats.
  • For CICC members, only representatives whose names appear on the CICC membership list as active members are allowed to represent clients for consideration. Violation of this may lead to CICC memberships being revoked, suspended or reinstated. In general, if there is an absence of a reasonable explanation as to why the information on the CICC website is not accurate, the CICC website is to be considered the final authority regarding the current status of CICC members.
  • If the membership number identified on the IMM 5476 is valid, but the name associated with the number differs slightly, officers should verify the name with the designated organization. However, if the name on the IMM 5476 is significantly different from the member’s name as it appears on the designated organization’s website, officers may return the application, explaining in the letter the reason for the return.

Note: The law societies of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories do not have membership identification numbers.

  • The representative must be identified by the name of an individual and not that of an organization. All regulatory bodies (Canadian law societies, the Chambre des notaires du Québec and CICC) issue memberships on an individual basis and do not offer corporate memberships.
  • The representative’s contact information (mailing address and telephone number)
  • There is indication whether the representative is compensated or uncompensated
  • Both the applicant’s and the representative’s signatures with a date are included

It is not necessary to verify for each application from a given representative that they are a member in good standing, especially when the local office is familiar with the representative as an authorized member of one of the regulatory bodies. However, occasional verification is advisable.

Note: an applicant can be represented by only one individual at a time per application. This is to prevent the possibility of conflicting directions on one application.

Returning an application

Applications from unauthorized representatives must be returned so that these representatives and their clients are consistently reminded that the government will deal only with authorized representatives when compensation is being given. It is necessary to present this message uniformly and consistently. The following are reasons that an application and any other items included should be returned:

  • IMM 5476 not included. Then, the application and associated fees must be returned.
  • Incomplete IMM 5476: When the IMM 5476 does not include all of the information required, the IMM 5476, the application, accompanying documents, the letter concerning an incomplete form and any attached fees should be returned to the applicant. However, when the only address available is that of the representative (whether the representative is a family member, friend, authorized, unauthorized or other), all items should be returned there.
  • Unauthorized representative: If the compensated representative is not authorized, return the entire application to the home or mailing address provided by the applicant, with a letter stating the authorized representative could not be verified as a member in good standing of any of the CICC, a provincial or territorial law society or the Chambre des notaires du Québec and, therefore, cannot represent the applicant. The applicant’s address should be used, as there is no guarantee that the unauthorized representative will contact the applicant. However, if the only address available is that of the unauthorized representative, the application should be returned there.
  • Ministère de l'immigration, Diversité et Inclusion (MIDI): The Regulations specify which compensated representatives can represent a client during the federal immigration process. Therefore, they do not directly affect the activities of Quebec provincial immigration officers. However, if IRCC receives an application that has been approved by the MIDI, but has the name of an unauthorized compensated representative for the purposes of the federal immigration process, the office should return the application with the letter stating the authorized representative could not be verified and therefore cannot represent the applicant.

Concern over use of a concealed representative

A concealed representative (also known as a “ghost consultant”) is an individual who acts on a client’s behalf with IRCC or the CBSA and who does not submit an IMM 5476 declaring their professional relationship with the client.

Officers could have concerns that an applicant is using a concealed representative when:

  • they receive an application form that does not include an IMM 5476, but provides an unauthorized representative’s address as the mailing address
  • an address search reveals multiple cases going to the same mailing address

Insufficient evidence

If there is insufficient evidence (i.e. lack of proof) to support their concerns about the use of a concealed representative, officers should process the application.

Sufficient evidence

Sufficient evidence that an applicant is concealing a representative could include confirmed information from the public, admission by the applicant, or confirmation as a result of an investigation. If there is sufficient evidence of the use of a concealed representative during processing, officers should refer to ENF 2 to determine whether they meet the standard of proof and fairness required under A40 of IRPA or s.22(1)(e.1) and (e.2) of the Citizenship Act in order to refuse an application on the basis of misrepresentation.

When an officer is satisfied, on the basis of specific evidence, that an applicant is concealing a representative, the application can be returned. The application is to be sent to the applicant’s home or mailing address (if available) along with the Concealed Representative letter explaining the reason for the application’s return. This sends a strong message that IRCC and the CBSA are serious about not conducting business with unauthorized or concealed representatives. It is preferable that the applicant’s address be used, as there is no guarantee that the unauthorized representative will contact the applicant. However, if the only address available is that of the unauthorized representative, the application should be returned to the unauthorized representative.

Refer to Handling complaints for details on how to report concerns.

When an officer becomes aware of a number of applications being submitted by the same unidentified third party, either through evidence of the use of the same organization, style of presentation of the application, or contact information (e.g. addresses, email addresses, fax numbers), then a program integrity review may be required. Other program integrity issues, such as the use of fraudulent documents, could also be involved. Officers should be guided by the same program integrity standards and procedures that are adhered to in administering all citizenship and immigration programs.

Family class applications

As part of the family class process, IRCC may receive two separate IMM 5476 forms (one from the sponsor and one from the foreign national/applicant) per application. The Case Processing Centres (CPCs) will ensure that the sponsorship applications meet the requirements of R10 (2). This includes verifying that the IMM 5476 is complete, if submitted.

CPC Mississauga is required to verify the sponsor’s representative. The visa office is required to verify the foreign national’s representative, if different from the sponsor’s representative. However, to assist the visa office, it is recommended that both of the following be done:

  • Global Case Management System (GCMS) notes reflect that the representative has been verified in the on-line database
  • the IMM 5476, filled out by the foreign national, is forwarded to the appropriate visa office.

Family members of caregiver applicants in Canada

Caregivers submit applications to CPC Vegreville (CPC-V). CPC-V subsequently notifies the visa office to contact the family member(s) of the applicant to the Caregiver Program. If the family member chooses to retain a compensated representative, the representative must be authorized.

Temporary Residence Extensions

An application for extension of temporary status is a new application. Therefore, if the applicant is using a representative, the application requires an IMM 5476.

Express Entry

Express Entry is a system used to manage applications for permanent residence under certain economic immigration programs. Individuals can use a representative to assist them at all stages of the process.

Applicants must submit an IMM 5476 if they

  • have used or are appointing a representative at the profile stage
  • decide to use a representative, cancel their representative, or appoint one after they have built their profile

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