Getting the Best Help - How to Choose Professional Representation in the Mobility and Immigration Process

The process of relocation to Canada requires in depth knowledge of related law and policy to understand the correct steps to take when acquiring a work visa/study visa/permanent resident visa.

Each of these processes includes gathering the proper documentation needed, compiling a complete and properly filled application, and an understanding of the relevant deadlines and their significance. The consequences of not accounting for every component that is involved in this process can lead to deferred or declined applications which can cost time, money, and effort.

It is easy to find outdated and incorrect/information about the requirements and procedures of applying for these immigration processes on the internet. Relying on an immigration law firm is the best investment to ensure you will meet the application requirements successfully. Below are some key considerations when looking for representation.

The Crucial Difference Between Immigration Law Firms and Immigration Consultants

The major benefit of choosing an immigration law firm is that, as opposed to immigration consultants, law firms employ regulated lawyers who have extensive education which consultants are not required to have. Alongside their education,  only lawyers  have the authority to represent their clients in litigation in Canadian courts, including the Federal Court of Canada.

Immigration consultants cannot advocate for individuals in Federal court. This means, they lack a degree and depth of insight that an experienced Immigration Lawyer is likely to have. By having litigation experience, lawyers know when, how and why things go wrong in the immigration process. This experience enables immigration lawyers to know how to avoid such problems altogether.

Moreover, immigration legislation changes frequently, often with the political tides. Getting the correct and up to date information, and understanding how it may change in the future, is crucial for individuals looking to enter Canada. A representative must be up to date with current legislation and regulations. To avoid potential problems and delays at the back end, do your homework at the outset, before deciding whom to hire to assist you with your Canadian immigration application.

Not all Law Firms have the Same Expertise

Not all law firms specialize in, or have a focus on immigration law. Additionally, not all immigration law firms may have the right focus for your needs. Corporate law firms for example, usually service corporations or large institutions such as banks who are often looking specifically to mobilize workers. These law firms work in the interest of the corporation, and not necessarily with the interests of individual professional workers. The benefit of a Full Service Immigration Law Firm is that they can provide and tailor services to both an individual client and a corporate client.  

It is also worth investigating the kinds of immigration applications the firm is capable of processing. While the process and regulations of an immigration application are largely the same, no matter an individuals’ country of origin, having familiarity with the kinds of documentation and particularly nuances from various countries across the globe is a major asset.

Confirm Registration and Assess Reputation

To make sure the immigration law firm is registered and is authorized to represent you, visit the Canadian Government website to see if they are in good standing with the Canadian provincial or territorial law society. As a potential immigrant, you are especially vulnerable to those seeking to exploit you by making false claims about being able to help you with your application process and/or making false claims about their own identity (whether they are truthfully a licensed lawyer). Making sure they are lawyers registered and in good standing with the Canadian government can help you avoid becoming a victim of fraud or having your application denied because you did not have all of the required documentation.

Aside from knowing that your potential immigration law firm consists of certified lawyers, the reputation of that law firm can provide extra assurance that they will handle your case with care and competence. Any reputable law firm will be able to provide you with contacts and references who are previous clients that have gone through a similar process. Knowing how many years of experience the lawyers have, and how many similar requests they have dealt with will also give you an idea of how proficient the law firm will be in handling your case.

Immigration can be a stressful situation, especially considering that mistakes made in your application can have consequences of wasted time and money and may cause unnecessary hardship by interfering with your life plans. The most secure and reputable representation is finding an immigration law firm who is looking out for you. Feel safe knowing your application is in the most capable hands.

Ashley Fisch B.A., J.D. is an Associate at Kaminker & Associates Immigration Law in Toronto, Ontario