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An immigration consultant is a person who helps people to emigrate from one country to another country and through legal and documentation process to increase the chances of immigration for study, work, travel or business purpose. Immigration consultants are legal experts and have knowledge about immigration laws and visa laws and about the procedure of getting different types of visa.
In the United States, immigration consultants/notaries do not have formal immigration law training, and they are not allowed to answer even the most basic legal questions that every immigrant has when applying for an immigration benefit. Doing so would constitute the unauthorized practice of law, which is a crime. Because of this, many organizations including the Central America Resource Center recommend that all persons seeking immigration assistance completely avoid notaries and immigration consultants and, instead, seek legal advice from a licensed attorney.
Many governments have authorized bodies that provide licence to deserving immigration consultants who are thoroughly up-to-date about the visa and immigration rules of their country. Canada provides the certification through Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council, and Australia provides it through Migration Agents Registration Authority.
Immigration consultants started working in the 1960s when a large number of qualified people have started migrating from Asia and Latin America to U.S.A., Canada and Europe. Generally these developed countries have requirement of highly skilled professionals and so they have very strict and complicated rules for immigration and visa processing. To help aid people who need clarity regarding the visa and immigration rules of various countries, this concept of immigration consultancies has come forward.
- "Immigration Consultants | State of California - Department of Justice - Office of the Attorney General". Oag.ca.gov. Retrieved 2017-06-24.
- "Why should I pay a notary or an immigration consultant if the law permits him/her to do practically nothing for me? - Central American Resource Center (CARECEN)". Carecen-la.org. Retrieved 2017-06-24.