When attempting to get a certain application(s) processed for Canadian immigration purposes, it is always recommended to have legal representation. The reasons why an immigration lawyer is a helpful resource is because Canadian immigration law and applications are very detailed and complex. Sometimes, the difference between an approval and a denial can be as minuscule as providing the exact, and correct, documentation, and making sure there are no mistakes. Immigration lawyers have the most up to date knowledge of Canadian immigration law, and the most experience with processing all kinds of applications. While it is not necessary to have a lawyer to apply for Canadian programs (such as things like TRPs, Rehabilitation, or even Permanent Residency), you want all the insight you can get!
In terms of Canadian immigration representation there are immigration lawyers, but you will also find a lot of “consultants”. What is the difference?
Consultants are self-titled experts who have very little accountability and oversight, compared to immigration lawyers who are accountable to their respective bar association. Despite many attempts by the Canadian Government to crack down on fraud or incompetence, there are still many consultants who brand themselves as experts. There is no experience requirement to become a consultant, unlike immigration lawyers, and there are no academic barriers to becoming a consultant. Hiring a consultant is a gamble, every time.
As mentioned earlier, it is not required to hire an immigration lawyer to apply for any of the programs offered by the government. Nonetheless, it is advised for you to hire an immigration lawyer so that your application can be thoroughly completed. Immigration lawyers are accountable to their provincial bar. They are also required by their bar associations to attend professional education conferences and seminars. This guarantees a level of expertise that you will not get from consultants. Furthermore, Canadian immigration law and visa applications are notoriously complicated. A simple error on your application can lead to a rejection, which will be a waste of time, energy, and money. To become an immigration lawyer, one must have gone through law school and have trained under a practicing lawyer.
Getting an Immigration Lawyer
Getting an immigration lawyer should be simple, but often turns out to be confusing. Searching on the internet alone can add to that confusion, as the number of results can be overwhelming and the lack of guidance could be detrimental to the uninformed. Here are the three best ways to find an immigration lawyer:
- Reference: Having someone refer you to an immigration lawyer is perhaps the best way to hire an immigration lawyer. The person who refers you to this lawyer will be able to provide you with firsthand experience with the lawyer. However, do not be persuaded by a lawyer who claims to have “inside” influence in the government or in the immigration office. Two of the core values of the Canadian Government are equality and fairness, while nepotism is not tolerated.
- Their Website: A good and reputable immigration lawyer will have an up-to-date website which allows you to verify his credentials. A trustworthy lawyer website will also have informative content, in which they exhibit their knowledge of the law. An old or broken website is a signal for you not to hire said firm or lawyer.
- The Canadian Bar Association, or their Provincial Bar Association: The Canadian Bar Association has an immigration section, trustworthy and competent lawyers will most likely be members of the association. Lawyers will usually their declare to which association they are affiliated on their website.
Once you find a lawyer, the best thing to do is to call them and ask them to assess your application process, or to ask which application you should apply for. You will get a feel for their level of service as well as their expertise. If you are satisfied with your conversation and you wish to hire them, they will guide you in their respective client onboarding process. Hiring them will unquestionably improve your chances of success, as well as give you peace of mind. They are experts who have experience in your type of case, they will know how to guide you. Hiring an immigration lawyer is a decision you will not regret making.