CIC and the Universities…move along…no scandal here…

The Chronicle Herald published a story today warning that University enrollment will be impacted by the restriction of schools from providing immigration advice to prospective and current international students.

http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/1145194-universities-immigration-law-hurts-enrolment

I have seen the letter CIC distributed to universities that has caused the uproar.  To be fair, the letter is dense and confusing.  However, I think there is a misunderstanding about what CIC is restricting and why.

International student centres and advisors have always provided information and guidance to students on a no-fee basis. That is not changing. Universities cannot (and never could) provide immigration advice for a fee.

The problem, as I understand it, is that some international student centres have been providing immigration advice and representation to students for a fee. Unless the people giving that advice and/or representation are licensed consultants or lawyers, that’s illegal under the new rules. As it always was under other rules (unauthorized practice of law) and as it should be. If the universities want to hire or contract licensed consultants or lawyers and charge students for that service, they can do that. If they want to keep providing that help for free, they can do that too.

I don’t think there is anything particularly controversial about this new rule.  The controversy is in how it is being interpreted in the media.

And if you read the rule carefully, you can see that it isn’t even stepping on anyone’s toes. Check out section 91 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, to see for yourself:

http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/I-2.5/FullText.html

In this case, CIC is doing the right thing. It is trying to protect people from paying for bad immigration advice.

When it comes to immigration, bad advice is always worse than no advice at all.