Use of Authorized Representative for Canada Immigration

Canada Immigration Application may be easier than you think. Learn about the Authorized Representative.

Considering the rigorous process of applying and filling out forms for immigration to Canada, it would be convenient to rely on the services of an authorized representative.

Apart from the fact that a designated representative practically holds your hand through the process of application, he operates from an angle of knowledge and expertise.

However, it is wise to weigh the pros and cons of engaging a designated or authorized representative before making that huge decision.

Who is an Authorized Representative?

An Authorized Representative is a person who you choose to represent you in the process of applying for immigration to Canada. His goal is to simplify the immigration process for you to immigrate to Canada. He takes care of arranging all the required immigration documents.

Beware! There are people who are paid but unauthorized representatives because they are not qualified. The Government of Canada does not recognize such people and will refuse any application you make through them. You can find out if your representative is authorized.

Before you pay any fee to a Representative, check their credentials to make sure they are authorized.

Two types of Authorized Representatives

Authorized Paid Representative (APR).

An Authorized Paid Representative is someone who receives a fee for the services of representation. There are 3 broad categories of APR:

  1. A lawyer or paralegal who is in good standing with the provincial or territorial law society.
  2. An immigration consultant who is in good standing with Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council. (Find an Immigration Professional)
  3. A notary who is in good standing with Chambre des notaries du Quebec

An Authorized Unpaid Representative is someone who works mostly in a pro bono capacity, to offer assistance to a person who intends to migrate to Canada. This unpaid representative, however, operates from an angle of knowledge of the Canadian immigration system, either because he is a Canadian Native, a permanent resident, or a professional.

There are 3 broad categories of AUR:

  1. Family member
  2. Friend
  3. Volunteer (NGO)

What they all have in common, is an expert or professional knowledge of the immigration process, and years of residency in Canada. It doesn’t matter the category (paid or unpaid). An authorized representative is bound by the rules of the process.

Functions of an Authorized Representative

  • He explains and simplifies the process of application to you
  • He advises you on the best options that would suit your situation
  • He fills out and submits your immigrant application
  • He communicates with the Government of Canada and makes decisions on your behalf
  • He represents you in an immigration application hearing

Advantages of engaging the services of an Authorized Representative

He helps smoothen the process of application. Not everyone is gifted with the patience of going through the painstaking process of immigrant application. Attention to tiny details which may be significant can be left to the Authorized Representative.

He has valuable experience which will help in the process of application. As a result of years of experience, an Authorized Representative may have picked up acquaintances in the places that matter, to aid the process.

Disadvantages of engaging the services of an Authorized Representative

The risk of divulging personal information to a complete stranger. Knowledge is power. Whether he is a paid or an unpaid representative, the depth of information he will have about you, to enable him to represent you satisfactorily, can be damaging.

The risk of surrendering the complete process of immigrant application to a third party. To an authorized representative, the application process is a business, probably a task. To you, it is an ambition or a passion. Either way, you will both approach the process from different perspectives.

A person who has more at stake would approach a situation with more determination than a person who does not. On the other hand, because it would dent his professional records if he fails, an authorized representative would do his best to make it work.

However, it is important to know that you do not need to hire an authorized representative. Hiring one will not give your application any special attention. There is no guarantee that your application will be approved.

The Government of Canada treats all applicants fairly and equally. Using an Authorized Paid Representative, an Authorized Unpaid Representative, or taking the plunge yourself, is a choice that you have to make.

If you decide to play safe and be your own Representative, to ensure that you do not fall into the hands of fraudulent representatives, simply go online and apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization eTA from the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) portal. There, you will find a step-by-step guide on how to fill and submit your application. The IRCC office is an office in Canada that supports immigration and settlement programs.

Tips on employing the services of an Authorized Representative

If you decide to employ the services of an AR, please take note of the following:

  • Ask for referrals from friends and family. It is always better to use an AR who is known to someone in your circle.
  • Ask for referrals from the AR too. It would be an added advantage if he can authenticate his success stories.
  • Ensure that you have a written and signed contract with your AR, stipulating his fees and the duration and scope of his services.
  • Ask him questions, and expect him to answer all questions. After all, you will entrust him with intimate details about yourself.
  • Ensure that you confirm his credentials. Is your Authorized Representative truly authorized?
  • Be sure to get him to sign the use of representative form and submit it with your immigration application. Remember that this form must be filled, whether your AR is paid or unpaid.
  • You can add, change or cancel the services of your AR if you become uncomfortable or suspicious during the process.
  • You should be suspicious of an AR who tries to persuade you to tweak your story a bit, during application. He is fraudulent. Disassociate yourself from him immediately, and file a complaint at the IRCC website. He may jeopardize your chances of immigrating to Canada. Even if you succeed in immigrating to Canada with false information on the advise of your AR, you could still be deported after you arrive.
  • Bear in mind that at all times, you need to be open and truthful to your AR to enable him to assist you satisfactorily.
  • Safeguard your financial details and protect yourself from fraud.
  • Your Authorized Representative is not your safe deposit box. Keep your originals with you. Give him only photocopies.
  • Keep copies of any transaction you have with your AR, and of documents he makes for you.
  • Don’t sign documents you do not understand. If they are ambiguous, be suspicious. Ask for an explanation, and if you are not convinced, find out more. Every step of the application process is transparent and explainable.
  • Do not sign blank documents. Insist on knowing what you are required to sign.
  • Always request signed receipts of any payment or transaction with your AR.
  • Lastly, ensure that your AR understands the code of conduct for designated representatives so that he does not spoil your chances of immigrating to Canada.

A person who engages an Authorized Representative has the responsibility of giving him access to certain information

Some of the information you must give your representative are:

  • Your correct name
  • Your correct address
  • Your correct date of birth
  • Your social insurance number (if any)
  • Your business number (if any)
  • Other documents which are necessary to the application process

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there any time that an Authorized Representative is absolutely necessary?

In a situation where the applicant is mentally or physically impaired, an authorized representative becomes absolutely necessary. Also, if there is a case of a language barrier, it is advisable to employ an Authorized Representative.

Can I appoint a family member or friend to be my Authorized Representative, even if I do not pay him?

You can choose anyone to be your AR, but ensure he is resident in Canada and is conversant with the Canadian Immigration Process.

Is a parent a legally authorized representative?

Not unless you are underage (less than 18). If you are over 18, and you want your parent(s) to act as your representative(s), you have to fill in a form authorizing them to act as your representative. If you’re under 18 they are automatically your representative.

Conclusion

Authorized Representatives are gradually becoming a norm in the immigration process. While people understand that an Authorized Representative cannot give you the ‘Nike’ tick, they, however, rely on the expertise and advice of an AR. The plan is to do it right the first time, or not at all. But truth is, the best agent is ‘you’.

However, even if you have 1% doubt about your ability to pull through on your own, it is better to hire one of the above authorized representatives to handle your application. Canada has multiple immigration programs and not all have simple processes.