Toronto Star 对李哲顾问的专题采访 – 关于不法幽灵顾问
此次事件发生后，我们积极的帮助这些受幽灵顾问蒙蔽的申请人向移民部说明情况，协助他们解决了相应的问题，这些申请人最终顺利获得了移民身份。对此，李哲顾问、加拿大移民部发言人Carl Beauchamp和加拿大移民顾问监管协会发言人Daniel Roukema接受了加拿大最具影响力的媒体Toronto Star记者的专题采访。
Immigration Department cracks down on unlicensed ‘ghost’ consultants in China
– In one of its biggest crackdown on unlicensed consultants, Ottawa has rejected applications filed from a single address of a company in China.
In what’s believed to be Canada’s biggest crackdown on unlicensed “ghost” consultants operating abroad, Ottawa has rejected en masse dozens of immigration applications filed from the address of a company in China.
A group of 57 of the rejected applicants has already filed an appeal to the Federal Court of the Immigration Department’s decision, claiming they hired Beijing-based Flyabroad for its translation and clerical services, and that the firm was not their authorized legal representative.
Clients of Flyabroad are among a growing number of immigration applicants flagged and rejected by Canadian visa posts in Beijing and Hong Kong for employing the services of unregistered consulting firms in China, the Star has learned.
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act stipulates that only licensed Canadian lawyers and immigration consultants registered with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council can offer immigration advice and services for a fee.
Applicants must sign a form and provide details of the person who serves as the representative and who will conduct business on the applicant’s behalf — one way for immigration officials to flush out ghost consultants.
The court challenge by the former Flyabroad clients raises the question of whether an immigration applicant is required to declare the use of an unauthorized consultant who prepares an application package but doesn’t deal directly with immigration officials.
Flyabroad says it offers translation services, that its services are legal in Canada and China, and that it’s website offers general information about immigrating to Canada.
“We have never seen something like this where so many applications were rejected all at the same time. Instead of going after the unregistered consultants, they are going after the applicants,” said Toronto immigration lawyer Aadil Mangalji, who is not involved in the case. “This should make people really wary of who is doing their application.”
In a letter to the rejected applicants, Canadian visa offices said the applicants were “inadmissible” because they had used an unauthorized immigration representative without submitting the use of a representative form, which constitutes “misrepresentation.”
One rejected applicant, an engineer, said he paid Flyabroad $6,000 to prepare his application in 2014 because it was easier to hire someone to do the tedious application for him. The man, in his mid-30s, said all the communication was conducted by phone or email, and he never set foot in the company’s Beijing office.
“I was shocked when I got the immigration letter. We didn’t know about the law or the authorization form. We just signed the documents, sent them back to Flyabroad, and they mailed it out for us,” said the man, who asked not to be identified for fear of repercussions.
“In China, we couldn’t access some sites or search under Google. When we go on Baidu (a Chinese search engine) and search for ‘Canada Immigration,’ all these Chinese consulting sites come up. I hope Canada would give us a second chance,” added the man, who is not part of the litigation.
Zhang Hongxia of Flyabroad said the firm was established in 2007 and only offers translation services, although it has an online bulletin board that provides immigration information and guidance with content translated into Chinese from the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website.
“It is true beside translation services, we also tell some clients how to prepare immigration documents, such as how to apply for education credentials in a faster way, how to apply for notarization, what documents to provide to support their working experience,” Zhang said in an email. “What I do neither violates Chinese law nor Canadian law.”
Flyabroad’s website also includes immigration information for Australia, New Zealand, the United States and specifically for Quebec. Zhang refused to say how many Canadian immigration applications her company has assisted since its operation.
Zhang said all the clients need is help organizing documents. “With or without assistance during their application process, it will change nothing about their qualification,” she wrote.
Vincent Li, a licensed consultant based in Aurora, said it is cumbersome for Canadian consulting firms to obtain approval to start a company in China. The startup, including licensing and registration, could cost up to $400,000, he said, hence it creates the opportunity for unregistered consultants.
Li said he is aware of clients of other unregistered Chinese consulting firms rejected by Canadian immigration for misrepresentation under similar circumstances.
“There is little enforcement in China against these ghost consultants. A lot of the people (clients) there are not aware of the Canadian law,” said Li, who has been retained by some of Flyabroad’s former clients. “Yet, they are paying the price for it.”
The Immigration Department said it couldn’t provide the number of applications rejected for the use of unauthorized consultants or for misrepresentation.
“The Government of Canada takes any kind of citizenship or immigration fraud seriously. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada does not deal with non-authorized citizenship and immigration representatives in Canada or from abroad,” said department spokesperson Carl Beauchamp.
“A person who wants to come to Canada does not need to hire a representative. Citizenship and immigration representatives are not given special attention or special access to (Immigration Department) programs and services and no one can guarantee someone a visa, permit or citizenship.”
Toronto immigration lawyer Max Chaudhary, the lead counsel for the 57 Flyabroad clients, said immigration officials based their decision to reject his clients on suspicion rather than evidence.
“My clients used Flyabroad’s translation and courier services, but there’s no evidence of legal advice. It’s an overkill that’s not commensurate to the evidence,” said Chaudhary.
Daniel Roukema, a spokesperson for the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council, said the professional regulator only has jurisdiction to police its members and no authority over ghost consultants abroad.
“At the end of the day, whether you are retaining a consultant or dentist, the consumer is responsible for making the right decision,” he said. “We are not accountable to people who hire unauthorized representatives.”
加拿大注册移民法律顾问 – 李哲
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant – Vincent Li