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S.B. 144

             1     

IMMIGRATION CONSULTANTS

             2     
2012 GENERAL SESSION

             3     
STATE OF UTAH

             4     
Chief Sponsor: Luz Robles

             5     
House Sponsor: Jeremy A. Peterson

             6     
             7      LONG TITLE
             8      General Description:
             9          This bill modifies commerce and trade provisions to provide for the registration of
             10      immigration consultants.
             11      Highlighted Provisions:
             12          This bill:
             13          .    enacts the Immigration Consultants Registration Act, including:
             14              .    defining terms;
             15              .    requiring certain persons to be registered as immigration consultants;
             16              .    establishing application requirements;
             17              .    requiring a criminal background check;
             18              .    providing requirements for posting a bond;
             19              .    establishing requirements for a contract entered into by an immigration
             20      consultant;
             21              .    requiring accounting for services;
             22              .    addressing translations and prohibited acts;
             23              .    addressing delivery, release, and treatment of documents;
             24              .    providing requirements for posted notices; and
             25              .    providing for enforcement and for recovery of losses; and
             26          .    makes technical and conforming amendments.
             27      Money Appropriated in this Bill:


             28          None
             29      Other Special Clauses:
             30          This bill takes effect on July 1, 2012.
             31      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             32      AMENDS:
             33          13-2-1, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2006, Chapter 154
             34      ENACTS:
             35          13-49-101, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             36          13-49-102, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             37          13-49-201, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             38          13-49-202, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             39          13-49-203, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             40          13-49-204, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             41          13-49-301, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             42          13-49-302, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             43          13-49-303, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             44          13-49-304, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             45          13-49-305, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             46          13-49-401, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             47          13-49-402, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             48          13-49-403, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             49          13-49-404, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             50     
             51      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             52          Section 1. Section 13-2-1 is amended to read:
             53           13-2-1. Consumer protection division established -- Functions.
             54          (1) There is established within the Department of Commerce the Division of Consumer
             55      Protection.
             56          (2) The division shall administer and enforce the following:
             57          (a) Chapter 5, Unfair Practices Act;
             58          (b) Chapter 10a, Music Licensing Practices Act;


             59          (c) Chapter 11, Utah Consumer Sales Practices Act;
             60          (d) Chapter 15, Business Opportunity Disclosure Act;
             61          (e) Chapter 20, New Motor [Vehicles] Vehicle Warranties Act;
             62          (f) Chapter 21, Credit Services Organizations Act;
             63          (g) Chapter 22, Charitable Solicitations Act;
             64          (h) Chapter 23, Health Spa Services Protection Act;
             65          (i) Chapter 25a, Telephone and Facsimile Solicitation Act;
             66          (j) Chapter 26, Telephone Fraud Prevention Act;
             67          (k) Chapter 28, Prize Notices Regulation Act;
             68          (l) Chapter 32a, Pawnshop and Secondhand Merchandise Transaction Information Act;
             69          (m) Chapter 34, Utah Postsecondary Proprietary School Act;
             70          (n) Chapter 41, Price Controls During Emergencies Act; [and]
             71          (o) Chapter 42, Uniform Debt-Management Services Act[.]; and
             72          (p) Chapter 49, Immigration Consultants Registration Act.
             73          Section 2. Section 13-49-101 is enacted to read:
             74     
CHAPTER 49. IMMIGRATION CONSULTANTS REGISTRATION ACT

             75     
Part 1. General Provisions

             76          13-49-101. Title.
             77          This chapter is known as the "Immigration Consultants Registration Act."
             78          Section 3. Section 13-49-102 is enacted to read:
             79          13-49-102. Definitions.
             80          As used in this chapter:
             81          (1) "Client" means a person who receives services from or enters into an agreement to
             82      receive services from an immigration consultant.
             83          (2) "Compensation" means anything of economic value that is paid, loaned, granted,
             84      given, donated, or transferred to a person for or in consideration of:
             85          (a) services;
             86          (b) personal or real property; or
             87          (c) another thing of value.
             88          (3) "Department" means the Department of Commerce.
             89          (4) "Division" means the Division of Consumer Protection in the department.


             90          (5) "Immigration consultant" means a person who provides nonlegal assistance or
             91      advice on an immigration matter including:
             92          (a) completing a document provided by a federal or state agency, but not advising a
             93      person as to the person's answers on the document;
             94          (b) translating a person's answer to a question posed in a document provided by a
             95      federal or state agency;
             96          (c) securing for a person supporting documents, such as a birth certificate, that may be
             97      necessary to complete a document provided by a federal or state agency;
             98          (d) submitting a completed document on a person's behalf and at the person's request to
             99      the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services; and
             100          (e) referring a person to a person who could undertake legal representation activities in
             101      an immigration matter.
             102          (6) "Immigration matter" means a proceeding, filing, or action affecting the
             103      immigration or citizenship status of a person that arises under:
             104          (a) immigration and naturalization law;
             105          (b) executive order or presidential proclamation; or
             106          (c) action of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the United States
             107      Department of State, or the United States Department of Labor.
             108          Section 4. Section 13-49-201 is enacted to read:
             109     
Part 2. Registration Requirements

             110          13-49-201. Requirement to be registered as an immigration consultant --
             111      Exemptions.
             112          (1) (a) Except as provided in Subsection (1)(b), a person may not engage in an activity
             113      of an immigration consultant for compensation unless the person is registered under this
             114      chapter.
             115          (b) Subsection (1)(a) does not apply to a person authorized:
             116          (i) to practice law in this state; or
             117          (ii) by federal law to represent persons before the Board of Immigration Appeals or the
             118      United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
             119          (2) An immigration consultant may only offer nonlegal assistance or advice in an
             120      immigration matter.


             121          Section 5. Section 13-49-202 is enacted to read:
             122          13-49-202. Application for registration.
             123          (1) To register as an immigration consultant a person shall:
             124          (a) submit an application in a form prescribed by the division;
             125          (b) pay a fee determined by the department in accordance with Section 63J-1-504 ,
             126      which includes the costs of the criminal background check required under Subsection (1)(e);
             127          (c) have good moral character in that the applicant has not be convicted of:
             128          (i) a felony; or
             129          (ii) within the last 10 years, a misdemeanor involving theft, fraud, or dishonesty;
             130          (d) submit fingerprint cards in a form acceptable to the division at the time the
             131      application is filed; and
             132          (e) consent to a fingerprint background check by the Utah Bureau of Criminal
             133      Identification regarding the application.
             134          (2) The division shall register a person who qualifies under this chapter as an
             135      immigration consultant.
             136          Section 6. Section 13-49-203 is enacted to read:
             137          13-49-203. Requirement to submit to criminal background check.
             138          (1) The division shall require an applicant for registration as an immigration consultant
             139      to:
             140          (a) submit a fingerprint card in a form acceptable to the division; and
             141          (b) consent to a fingerprint criminal background check by the Utah Bureau of Criminal
             142      Identification.
             143          (2) (a) The division shall obtain information from a criminal history record maintained
             144      by the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification pursuant to Title 53, Chapter 10, Part 2, Bureau
             145      of Criminal Identification.
             146          (b) The information obtained under Subsection (2)(b), may only be used by the
             147      division to determine whether an applicant for registration as an immigration consultant meets
             148      the requirements of Subsection 13-49-202 (1)(c).
             149          Section 7. Section 13-49-204 is enacted to read:
             150          13-49-204. Bonds -- Exemption -- Statements dependant on posting bond.
             151          (1) Except as provided in Subsection (5), an immigration consultant shall post a cash


             152      bond or surety bond:
             153          (a) in the amount $50,000; and
             154          (b) payable to the division for the benefit of any person damaged by a fraud,
             155      misstatement, misrepresentation, unlawful act, omission, or failure to provide services of an
             156      immigration consultant, or an agent, representative, or employee of an immigration consultant.
             157          (2) A bond required under this section shall be:
             158          (a) in a form approved by the attorney general; and
             159          (b) conditioned upon the faithful compliance of an immigration consultant with this
             160      chapter and division rules.
             161          (3) (a) If a surety bond posted by an immigration consultant under this section is
             162      canceled due to the person's negligence, the division may assess a $300 reinstatement fee.
             163          (b) No part of a bond posted by an immigration consultant under this section may be
             164      withdrawn:
             165          (i) during the period the registration under this chapter is in effect; or
             166          (ii) while a revocation proceeding is pending against the person.
             167          (4) (a) A bond posted under this section by an immigration consultant may be forfeited
             168      if the person's registration under this chapter is revoked.
             169          (b) Notwithstanding Subsection (4)(a), the division may make a claim against a bond
             170      posted by an immigration consultant for money owed the division under this division without
             171      the commission first revoking the immigration consultant's registration.
             172          (5) The requirements of this section do not apply to an employee of a nonprofit,
             173      tax-exempt corporation who assists clients to complete an application document in an
             174      immigration matter, free of charge or for a fee, including reasonable costs, consistent with that
             175      authorized by the Board of Immigration Appeals under 8 C.F.R. Sec. 292.2.
             176          (6) A person may not disseminate by any means a statement indicating that the person
             177      is an immigration consultant, engages in the business of an immigration consultant, or proposes
             178      to engage in the business of an immigration consultant, unless the person has posted a bond
             179      under this section that is maintained throughout the period covered by the statement, such as a
             180      listing in a telephone book.
             181          (7) An immigration consultant may not make or authorize the making of an oral or
             182      written reference to the immigration consultant's compliance with the bonding requirements of


             183      this section except as provided in this chapter.
             184          Section 8. Section 13-49-301 is enacted to read:
             185     
Part 3. Operational Requirements

             186          13-49-301. Requirements for written contract -- Prohibited statements.
             187          (1) (a) Before an immigration consultant may provide services to a client, the
             188      immigration consultant shall provide the client with a written contract. The contents of the
             189      written contract shall comply with this section and rules made by the division in accordance
             190      with Title 63G, Chapter 3, Utah Administrative Rulemaking Act.
             191          (b) A client may rescind a written contract within 72 hours of execution of the written
             192      contract.
             193          (2) A written contract under this section shall be stated in both English and in the
             194      client's native language.
             195          (3) A written contract under this section shall:
             196          (a) state the purpose for which the immigration consultant has been hired;
             197          (b) state the one or more services to be performed;
             198          (c) state the price for a service to be performed;
             199          (d) include a statement printed in10-point boldface type that the immigration
             200      consultant is not an attorney and may not perform the legal services that an attorney performs;
             201          (e) with regard to a document to be prepared by the immigration consultant:
             202          (i) list the document to be prepared;
             203          (ii) explain the purpose of the document;
             204          (iii) explain the process to be followed in preparing of the document;
             205          (iv) explain the action to be taken by the immigration consultant;
             206          (v) state the agency or office where each document will be filed; and
             207          (vi) state the approximate processing times according to current published agency
             208      guidelines;
             209          (f) include a provision stating that the person may report complaints relating to an
             210      immigration consultant to the:
             211          (i) division, including a toll-free telephone number and Internet web site; and
             212          (ii) Office of Immigrant Assistance of the United States Department of Justice,
             213      including a toll-free telephone number and Internet web site;


             214          (g) include a provision stating that complaints concerning the unauthorized practice of
             215      law may be reported to the Utah State Bar, including a toll-free telephone number and Internet
             216      web site; and
             217          (h) include a provision stating that a client may rescind the contract within 72 hours of
             218      signing the contract.
             219          (4) A written contract may not contain a provision relating to the following:
             220          (a) a guarantee or promise, unless the immigration consultant has some basis in fact for
             221      making the guarantee or promise; or
             222          (b) a statement that the immigration consultant can or will obtain a special favor from
             223      or has special influence with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, or any
             224      other governmental agency, employee, or official, that may have a bearing on a client's
             225      immigration matter.
             226          (5) An immigration consultant may not make a statement described in Subsection (4)
             227      orally to a client.
             228          (6) A written contract is void if not written in accordance with this section.
             229          (7) This section does not apply to an employee of a nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation
             230      who assists clients to complete application documents in an immigration matter free of charge
             231      or for a fee, including reasonable costs, as authorized by the Board of Immigration Appeals
             232      under 8 C.F.R. Sec. 292.2.
             233          Section 9. Section 13-49-302 is enacted to read:
             234          13-49-302. Accounting for services -- Receipts.
             235          (1) An immigration consultant shall provide a signed receipt to a client for each
             236      payment made by that client. The receipt shall be typed or computer generated on the
             237      immigration consultant's letterhead.
             238          (2) An immigration consultant shall make a statement of accounting for the services
             239      rendered and payments made:
             240          (a) in the client's native language;
             241          (b) to the client every two months;
             242          (c) that is typed or computer generated on the immigration consultant's letterhead;
             243          (d) that lists the individual charges and total charges for services; and
             244          (e) that lists the payments made by the client.


             245          Section 10. Section 13-49-303 is enacted to read:
             246          13-49-303. Notice to be displayed -- Disclosure to be provided in writing.
             247          (1) An immigration consultant shall conspicuously display in the immigration
             248      consultant's office a notice that shall be at least 12 by 20 inches with boldface type or print with
             249      each character at least one inch in height and width in English and in the native language of the
             250      immigration consultant's clientele, that contains the following information:
             251          (a) the full name, address, and evidence of compliance with any applicable bonding
             252      requirement including the bond number, if any;
             253          (b) a statement that the immigration consultant is not an attorney;
             254          (c) the services that the immigration consultant provides and the current and total fee
             255      for each service; and
             256          (d) the name of each immigration consultant employed at each location.
             257          (2) Before providing any services, an immigration consultant shall provide a client
             258      with a written disclosure in the native language of the client that includes the following:
             259          (a) the immigration consultant's name, address, and telephone number;
             260          (b) the immigration consultant's agent for service of process;
             261          (c) the legal name of the employee who consults with the client, if different from the
             262      immigration consultant; and
             263          (d) evidence of compliance with any applicable bonding requirement, including the
             264      bond number, if any.
             265          (3) (a) Except as provided in Subsections (3)(b) and (3)(c), an immigration consultant
             266      who prints, displays, publishes, distributes, or broadcasts, or who causes to be printed,
             267      displayed, published, distributed, or broadcasted, any advertisement for services as an
             268      immigration consultant, shall include in that advertisement a clear and conspicuous statement
             269      that the immigration consultant is not an attorney.
             270          (b) Subsection (3)(a) does not apply to an immigration consultant who is not licensed
             271      as an attorney in any state or territory of the United States, but is authorized by federal law to
             272      represent persons before the Board of Immigration Appeals or the United States Citizenship
             273      and Immigration Services. A person described in this Subsection (3)(b) shall include in an
             274      advertisement for services as an immigration consultant a clear and conspicuous statement that
             275      the immigration consultant is not an attorney but is authorized by federal law to represent


             276      persons before the Board of Immigration Appeals or the United States Citizenship and
             277      Immigration Services.
             278          (c) Subsection (3)(a) does not apply to a person who is not an active member of the
             279      Utah State Bar, but is an attorney licensed in another state or territory of the United States and
             280      is admitted to practice before the Board of Immigration Appeals or the United States
             281      Citizenship and Immigration Services. A person described in this Subsection (3)(c) shall
             282      include in any advertisement for immigration services a clear and conspicuous statement that
             283      the person is not an attorney licensed to practice law in this state, but is an attorney licensed in
             284      another state or territory of the United States, and is authorized by federal law to represent
             285      persons before the Board of Immigration Appeals or the United States Citizenship and
             286      Immigration Services.
             287          (4) If an advertisement subject to this section is in a language other than English, the
             288      statement required by Subsection (3) shall be in the same language as the advertisement.
             289          Section 11. Section 13-49-304 is enacted to read:
             290          13-49-304. Translations -- Prohibited acts.
             291          (1) For purposes of this section, "literal translation" of a word or phrase from one
             292      language means the translation of a word or phrase without regard to the true meaning of the
             293      word or phrase in the language that is being translated.
             294          (2) An immigration consultant may not, with the intent to mislead, literally translate,
             295      from English into another language, words or titles, including, "notary public," "notary,"
             296      "licensed," "attorney," "lawyer," or any other terms that imply that the person is an attorney, in
             297      any document, including an advertisement, stationery, letterhead, business card, or other
             298      comparable written material describing the immigration consultant.
             299          Section 12. Section 13-49-305 is enacted to read:
             300          13-49-305. Documents -- Consent to release -- Treatment of original documents.
             301          (1) An immigration consultant shall deliver to a client a copy of a document completed
             302      on behalf of the client. An immigration consultant shall include on a document delivered to a
             303      client the name and address of the immigration consultant.
             304          (2) (a) An immigration consultant shall retain a copy of a document of a client for not
             305      less than three years from the date of the last service to the client.
             306          (b) Upon presentation of a written consent signed by a client, an immigration


             307      consultant shall provide a copy of the client file to law enforcement without a warrant or a
             308      subpoena.
             309          (3) (a) An immigration consultant shall return to a client all original documents that the
             310      client has provided to the immigration consultant in support of the client's application including
             311      an original birth certificate, rental agreement, utility bill, employment document, a registration
             312      document issued by the Division of Motor Vehicles, or a passport.
             313          (b) An original document that does not need to be submitted to immigration authorities
             314      as an original document shall be returned by the immigration consultant immediately after
             315      making a copy.
             316          Section 13. Section 13-49-401 is enacted to read:
             317     
Part 4. Prohibited Acts and Penalties

             318          13-49-401. Unlawful acts.
             319          (1) It is unlawful for an immigration consultant to:
             320          (a) make a false or misleading statement to a client while providing services to that
             321      client;
             322          (b) make a guarantee or promise to a client, unless the guarantee or promise is in
             323      writing and the immigration consultant has some basis in fact for making the guarantee or
             324      promise;
             325          (c) make a statement that the immigration consultant can or will obtain a special favor
             326      from or has special influence with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, or
             327      any other governmental agency, employee, or official, that may have a bearing on a client's
             328      immigration matter; or
             329          (d) charge a client a fee for referral of the client to another person for services that the
             330      immigration consultant cannot or will not provide to the client.
             331          (2) A sign describing the prohibition described in Subsection (1)(d) shall be
             332      conspicuously displayed in the office of an immigration consultant.
             333          Section 14. Section 13-49-402 is enacted to read:
             334          13-49-402. Violations -- Actions by division.
             335          (1) The division shall investigate and take action under this part for violations of this
             336      chapter.
             337          (2) A person who violates this chapter is subject to:


             338          (a) a cease and desist order; and
             339          (b) an administrative fine of not less than $100 or more than $5,000 for each separate
             340      violation.
             341          (3) An administrative fine shall be deposited in the Consumer Protection Education
             342      and Training Fund created in Section 13-2-8 .
             343          (4) (a) A person who intentionally violates this chapter:
             344          (i) is guilty of a class A misdemeanor; and
             345          (ii) may be fined up to $10,000.
             346          (b) A person intentionally violates this part if the violation occurs after the division,
             347      attorney general, or a district or county attorney notifies the person by certified mail that the
             348      person is in violation of this chapter.
             349          Section 15. Section 13-49-403 is enacted to read:
             350          13-49-403. Action by attorney general or district or county attorney.
             351          (1) Upon referral from the division, the attorney general or any district or county
             352      attorney may:
             353          (a) bring an action for temporary or permanent injunctive or other relief in any court of
             354      competent jurisdiction for any violation of this part;
             355          (b) bring an action in any court of competent jurisdiction for the collection of penalties
             356      authorized under Subsection 13-49-402 (2); or
             357          (c) bring an action under Subsection 13-49-402 (4).
             358          (2) A court may, upon entry of final judgment, award restitution when appropriate to
             359      any person suffering loss because of a violation of this part if proof of loss is submitted to the
             360      satisfaction of the court.
             361          Section 16. Section 13-49-404 is enacted to read:
             362          13-49-404. Recovery of losses.
             363          In addition to any other remedies, a person suffering pecuniary loss because of a
             364      violation by another person of this chapter may bring an action in any court of competent
             365      jurisdiction and may recover:
             366          (1) the greater of $500 or twice the amount of the pecuniary loss; and
             367          (2) court costs and reasonable attorney fees as determined by the court.
             368          Section 17. Effective date.


             369          This bill takes effect on July 1, 2012.




Legislative Review Note
    as of 1-26-12 11:34 AM


Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel


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