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Thread: Legal Consultant: How To Go For It

  1. #1
    Guest
    Hello To All:

    I was trying to figure out what really happens in a relationship like that of an immigration consultant and an immigrant in need. When I sa "immigration consultant" I assume that this person is neither an immigration lawyer nor a paralegal (certified or not.) What are the liabilities this "consultant" faces in case the immigration case of the foreigner falls apart, through no fault of the consultant? None?

    Would appreciate your thoughts on the issue. Many people don't have the money lawyers want/need. They chose these consultants therefore.

  2. #2
    Guest
    Hello To All:

    I was trying to figure out what really happens in a relationship like that of an immigration consultant and an immigrant in need. When I sa "immigration consultant" I assume that this person is neither an immigration lawyer nor a paralegal (certified or not.) What are the liabilities this "consultant" faces in case the immigration case of the foreigner falls apart, through no fault of the consultant? None?

    Would appreciate your thoughts on the issue. Many people don't have the money lawyers want/need. They chose these consultants therefore.

  3. #3
    Guest
    In most states, people who work as immigration consultants are violating the law by practicing law without a license. Because these individuals are operating illegally, their work is not regulated and you do not have the same recourse available to go after someone who is dishonest or incompetent.

    The Immigration does not recognize immigration consultants and will not allow them to intervene on your behalf should a problem arise in your case.

    Many immigration consultants insist that they are merely assisting people in completing forms. But even the INS has warned the public that the process of applying for a visa or citizenship is more than just form-filling. There are regulations behind most of the questions asked on the Immigration forms and questions that may seem straightforward are actually designed to elicit information relating to a complicated matter of law.

  4. #4
    Guest
    Immigration Consultants in California (where I live)

    California law regulates providers of non-legal immigration services. Immigration consultants may assist you in completing forms, translating materials, obtaining and submitting necessary documents, and finding legal aid. However, they are NOT lawyers, may NOT give legal advice, and do NOT necessarily have ANY special training. Be wary and look for the following:

    - All immigration consultants must file a $50,000 bond with the California Secretary of State's Office or be subject to criminal charges. This bond is important because the money is used by the State to benefit any person damaged by fraud or other unlawful acts. You have the right to request proof of this bond. If a consultant cannot show you proof, look for somebody else to help you.
    - Consultants must always use a written contract when making an agreement with you. This contract must be approved by the State of California. Furthermore, the law requires that the contract be in English and your native language. Make sure it lists all services to be performed and their total cost. You have the right to cancel the contract for any reason within three days and to receive a full refund.
    - It is illegal for a consultant to use the terms "Notario" or "Licenciado" or to misrepresent himself or herself as an attorney. Consultants must disclose in advertising that they are not lawyers.
    - Consultants should not split fees with attorneys in any matter.

  5. #5
    Guest
    Not all states require this bond to be posted though.

  6. #6
    Guest
    In the state where I live (Illinois) the City of Chicago's Immigration Assistance Ordinance regulates immigration consultants. All immigration consultants must obtain a general business license from the City of Chicago and register with the Department of Consumer Services before accepting payment to provide immigration assistance services.

    Some immigration consultants who work for not-for-profit agencies are Accredited Representatives, which means they are recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals as competent to counsel and represent clients in immigration matters. Accredited representatives are authorized to practice immigration law, the same as attorneys, including at administrative proceedings in immigration court. However, they cannot represent in federal court (U.S. District Court, U.S. Court of Appeals, or the U.S. Supreme Court).

    All other immigration consultants who do not meet the qualifications listed above are prohibited from giving any kind of legal advice, and only can perform the following types of assistance:

    - Provide appropriate government forms so long as that form is the only form which can be used and legal advice is not given
    - Transcribe responses to a government agency form.
    - Translate instructions and questions on forms, and translate answers to the questions
    - Assist in obtaining supporting documents such as birth and marriage certificates.
    - Translating documents from another language into English.
    - If licensed as Notaries Public, notarize signatures on government agency forms
    - Refer clients, without fee, to attorneys.
    - Assist in obtaining needed photographs and fingerprints.
    - Arrange for medical testing and the collection of results.
    - Conduct English language and civics courses.

    Before a for-profit immigration consultant provides services, both parties must sign a contract that includes the following:

    - A list of all compensation and costs that will be charged subject to a $20.00 per page limitation
    - A statement that submitted documents cannot be kept by the consultant for any reason.
    - A statement that the consultant is not an attorney and may not perform legal services
    - A statement that the contract can be canceled within three business days after signed with a refund of the fee.

    The contract must be written in both English and in the language of the customer, and the consultant must provide a copy of the contract immediately after it is signed.

    Immigration consultants regulated by the Immigration Assistance Ordinance must post signs in their place of business in a location clearly visible to the customer. The signs must be written in English as well as every other language for which the consultant offers assistance. Each language must have its own sign, which must be at least 11 inches x 17 inches in size. Each sign must contain the following statements:

    - I am not an attorney
    - I am not accredited to represent you before the Immigration and Naturalization Service nor the Board of Immigration Appeals
    - You may cancel your contract within 3 business days and get your money back for services not performed.

    Each sign also must include a list of all service fees and costs.

  7. #7
    Guest
    Indeed, immigration consultants are very useful in certain cases. I had a pretty simple case of Adjustment of Status and one of them requested me not more than $400 to complete the paperwork. Everything was done expeditiously and the end result was terrific. I got my green card in less than a year.

  8. #8
    Guest
    I read on this forum that Mohan provides immigration-related services in California. Has he posted the $50,000 bond required to?

  9. #9
    Guest
    Just A Q!

    Why don't you better go away and not try to figure out whether I have posted the bond or not? Plese don't poke your stinky nose into other people's business!

    Go Away!

  10. #10
    Guest
    What?

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