Want to Study in Canada? Questions to Ask Your Consultant
What work will you do?
Your immigration consultant will give you a service agreement or contract that lists:
What services you will be paying for
How much you will pay, and whether you will need to pay in advance
If you need to pay a deposit and whether any part of the fee is refundable
The cost of any other services provided or professionals that need to be hired (for example, lawyers or translators)
If anything in the service agreement is unclear, ask for more explanation in writing. You should understand every service you are paying for. There should not be any hidden fees or extra charges you must pay after signing your service agreement.
How experienced are you?
If you ask, your immigration consultant should tell you:
How long they have been licensed
What other immigration-related experience they might have
What areas they specialize in
What types of clients they have served?
If they have experience with cases like yours, they also might be able to tell you:
How long the process might take
Issues you might encounter in the application process
What outcomes you might expect from the process
Can you still help if I have been refused in the past?
To make sure you get the best service possible, let your immigration consultant know if you have ever had an immigration application that was refused, and tell them the reason or reasons for that refusal.
The immigration consultant may be able to give you new strategies for submitting your application. They should also be able to explain how your history of refusals may affect your chances of success.
Can you also help me find a job?
While immigrating to Canada and finding a job are often connected, you may need different representatives for each process.
For example, you may need to work with both a Canadian immigration consultant and a licensed recruiter.
Beware of promises like "For a single fee, we will find you a job and get your immigration papers.” No one should charge you a fee for finding you a job—not an employer, a recruiter, or an immigration consultant.
NOTE: Your future employer may need to submit a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application. If so, your immigration consultant will submit the approved LMIA with your work permit application (depending on eligibility, some foreign nationals may be exempt from an LMIA or a work permit).
Who will help with my application?
Besides your immigration consultant, many other people might work on your file.
You should know the names of your primary contact and anyone else who will work on your file, including staff members, agents, and other immigration consultants or lawyers.
Ask your primary contact for a description of everyone’s roles and responsibilities.
How do you set your fees?
An immigration consultant may base their fees on:
Their years of experience;
The number of hours they will spend working on your file;
The complexity of your situation; or
The number of other professionals that will need to work on your case.
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) are free to set their fees. The College does not regulate how much RCICs charge for their services. However, RCICs must set fair and reasonable fees for the specific services you hire them for.
Regulated International Student Immigration Advisors (RISIAs) do not collect fees directly from students. They are paid employees of specific Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs).
Can I pay you by the hour?
Your immigration consultant may or may not offer a per-hour rate. If they do, they must outline the rate per hour in your service agreement. They should also give you an estimate of the number of hours they expect to work on your case including preparation, submission, monitoring and ongoing communication.
Do I have to pay in advance for all applications?
Your immigration consultant will give you a list of:
Each application you will need to make;
The cost of each application; and
The payments you will need to make at each stage.
You should not be required to pay in advance for an application that depends on the success of another application.
If you pay your immigration consultant on a monthly payment plan, be sure you are only paying for the service fees due at the time of payment.
Will you refund my money if I cancel my contract?
Details about whether you can get a refund will be in the service agreement you sign with your immigration consultant.
If your application has been submitted and you are waiting for a decision, it may not be reasonable for you to expect a refund.
If your application has not been submitted, it might be reasonable to ask for a partial refund for work that your immigration consultant has not done yet.
If you stop working with an immigration consultant, they must return your original documents. They must also give you all the information you need to continue with your application.
If you hire a new immigration consultant, sign another IMM 5476 Use of a Representative Form. Then have your new representative request your documents and the details to access your immigration application.
Do you receive a commission from the employers or schools you work with?
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) and Regulated International Student Immigration Advisors (RISIAs) must abide by a Code of Professional Conduct that requires that they tell you:
If they are receiving money or benefits from someone else to work on your immigration application
If their business interests’ conflict with your interests
In other words, if they receive a commission from an employer or school in exchange for placing you in a job or an educational program, they must tell you before you hire them.