CAPIC condemns immigration fraud

THE Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants (CAPIC) on Wednesday issued a statement strongly condemning the unethical behaviour uncovered in a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) investigation into immigration fraud in Edmonton. Anyone who chooses to break the law in this way, undermines Canada’s immigration system and must be brought to justice, it said.

A recent CBC media article revealed that the CBSA was investigating an individual for a scheme that involved false applications for study and work-extension permits. These alleged actions are not reflective of the industry’s norm and tarnishes the credibility of the regulated immigration consulting profession.

(CBC reported last week that the CBSA raided the home and office of former Alberta Progressive Conservative MLA Carl Benito, now an immigration consultant, and seized more than $250,000 in cash in an investigation into what the agency said was a three-year immigration fraud scheme. CBSA officials believe that since November 2015, Benito had counselled dozens of Filipino immigrants to improperly extend their stay in Alberta. No charges have been laid against Benito and none of the allegations in the documents have been proven in court, CBC reported.)

“As the voice of Canada’s professional immigration consultants, CAPIC is committed to working with the Government of Canada and law enforcement agencies to denounce unethical and unlawful behaviour and sanction those who try to undermine the integrity of our immigration system” said Donald Igbokwe, President of CAPIC.

CAPIC supports and represents Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) through education and advocacy, while reinforcing the industry’s codes of conduct, which are established by the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) and are designed to protect consumers. RCICs must be insured and are put through extensive training and testing to practice and work under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).

The statement added: “CAPIC has been working with the Government of Canada to strengthen the regulation of our profession and advocate for greater disciplinary powers for the regulator ICCRC. Under its current mandate, ICCRC does not have the authority to investigate those individuals not authorized to act as immigration consultants in Canada. CAPIC believes that the self-regulation of immigration consultants by federal statute will strengthen the profession and further give the power and mandate for ICCRC to pursue the unlawful activities of Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants and unauthorized practitioners (UAP).”