How can I tell if my immigration or refugee legal representative is reliable?NewUpdated September 28
Choosing an immigration or refugee lawyer or representative is very important. Sometimes people who offer legal help are not qualified to do so. They can charge you money without providing the service you hired them for. And sometimes they just take your money.
Immigration and refugee law is very complicated. Some mistakes can cause serious problems. For example, you might not be able to stay in Canada or bring family members here to join you.
It's important that you hire an “authorized representative”. In Ontario, an authorized representative must be:
- a lawyer or paralegal who is licensed by the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) or
- an immigration consultant who is registered with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC).
Check the LSO website or ICCRC website to make sure the person has a license and that they don't have any discipline issues, such as a suspension.
An authorized representative can help you with sponsorships, refugee claims, and applications for permanent residence or temporary status, such as work, study, or permits.
Sometimes friends or family members might try to help you. But it's important to get help from someone who is:
- trained and knows immigration and refugee law
- authorized to give you the legal help you need
- honest and trustworthy
For more information about getting legal help with a refugee claim, read Where can I get legal advice and help with my refugee claim?
For information about getting legal advice about immigration status in Canada, read Where can I get legal advice about immigration status in Canada?
Tips to prevent fraud when looking for help
You're a victim of fraud if:
- you paid money for a service you did not get
- you hired someone who lied about what they can do to get your money
Fraud can happen both inside and outside of Canada. It's harder to protect yourself against fraud outside of Canada. And help with cases of fraud is limited, especially outside of Canada. In Canada, you can report fraud to:
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
It's hard to get your money back if you have been the victim of fraud. Here are some tips to help you avoid fraud and hire a reliable legal representative.