Are immigration consultants charging too much for their services?

posted Jul 4, 2015, 12:42 PM by Milorad Borota   [ updated Jul 4, 2015, 11:36 PM ]
Many new immigrants benefit from knowledge and expertise of immigration consultants but at the same time many would-be immigrants often feel immigration consultants' professional fees are not affordable.

Immigration consultants charge one thousand dollars for this two thousand dollars for that, for many persons especially from the third world countries those amounts sound astronomical.

The prices of immigration services are formed based on at least two groups of factors: market of immigration services and operating cost of running an immigration business.

Market forces

If most immigration consultants charge, let's say, $2000 for a family sponsorship application those who want to charge $4000 for the same service most likely won't find many clients willing to pay that much if they can get the same service for $2000.

Similarly if someone wants to charge $1000 for the same service he or she may not get enough clients because all new clients will wonder: "Why is this consultant charging 50% less than everyone else?" "Probably his or her services are not that good".

Therefore market forces are pushing prices of immigration services in a certain direction.

Cost of running immigration business

Then we come to the second group of factors - operating expenses associated with running own immigration business.

CIC will deal (accept applications and share information) only with authorized representatives which are ICCRC members in good standing, lawyers and notaries members of their respective professional associations and paralegals in Ontario.

ICCRC members in good standing must pay annual membership fee which is currently set at $1971.10 per year:

As you can see from the screenshot above in the past less than 4 years (since ICCRC took over regulatory function from the previous regulator) a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant had to pay almost $10 000 to the regulator just for legal authorization to practice as a regulated immigration consultant.

The membership fee does not include:

- Mandatory errors and omissions insurance (this year it was $235)

- Mandatory continued professional development workshops (average cost of $600 per year)

In addition to that chances are your immigration consultant will have to pay:

- Cost of renting an office (normally over $1000 per month)

- Corporate tax rates which are around 15%, GST tax is currently 5%

- Pay salaries or wages to the receptionist, paralegals or other staff

- Pay for advertising (especially at the beginning of their career as immigration consultant) etc.

This all comes after one spends approximately $10 000 on expenses related to taking immigration practitioner's program at one of the selected colleges, pass the language test, pass the ICCRC full skills exam etc.

I hope this brief article will provide some basic understanding how Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants decide how much they charge for their services.