As if choosing a good immigration consultant is a straightforward process. Migrating to Canada indeed is a daunting task to many people.
But even before plunging into the formalities of assessments and checkups, finding the right immigration consultant also poses a challenge to many would-be immigrants.
Given that they have limited knowledge, applicants typically approach these agents who are perceived to be knowledgeable and experienced in the field.
However, it’s not easy to pick the right consultant simply because applicants have little to no idea how to screen agents and distinguish between an effective immigration consultant and a fraudulent impostor.
Imagine looking through social media, Google search, or seeking recommendations from friends who are already in Canada, you may be presented with multiple options. They all promise you success, answer your questions and say the words you want to hear. Immigration is a long and thorough process and involves a substantial amount of financial investment. Selecting the right consultant saves you time, money and effort you invested to lodge your application.
This article aims to provide a detailed outline of how to find the right Canadian immigration consultant to handle your visa and migration applications.
The consultant should be accredited by recognized Canadian institutions
Before being able to practice as an immigration consultant and advice applicants, they must be authorized by the government of Canada. You must ensure that this representative is registered as a member of the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants.
Please search for the name of the consultant to check for his or her status whether a license is active, suspended, or revoked. Those with good standing are marked with active status. For another status, they are not permitted to provide services as consultants or offer advice. You may check the status to determine the cause of suspension or revocation.
If you are engaging with an immigration lawyer, he or she must be a member of a law society of the province or territory where he or she is practicing her profession.
- Law Society of British Columbia
- Law Society of Alberta
- Law Society of Saskatchewan
- Law Society of Manitoba
- Law Society of Ontario
- Barreau du Québec
- Law Society of New Brunswick
- Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society
- Law Society of Prince Edward Island
- Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador
- Law Society of Yukon
- Law Society of the Northwest Territories
- Law Society of Nunavut
By selecting a consultant who is recognized by the government and reputable organizations, you are assured of their competence to handle their duties. That’s because they both have experience in helping immigrants and they also continuously get updates and knowledge with changes in immigration laws. Otherwise, you might be fed with incorrect or outdated advice from an unauthorized immigration consultant.
The consultant must have experience in handling immigration cases
Being accredited by the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants is a proof and testament of skill and competence of a consultant. But you also need to ensure that this representative has the practical experience in handling immigration applications successfully.
Ideally, this immigration consultant has the experience in representing applicants with the same immigration pathway as yours. In this way, the agent can be more straightforward in asking for required documentation, proceed with efficiency, and can provide a realistic timetable of results.
An experienced consultant will also likely give you an honest assessment of your application’s chances of success. This is because his or her past experience can serve as a guide. An accredited representative can also provide alternative immigration program your profile can apply with quicker outcome or higher success rate. He or she can advise whether you can stick to your preferred choice or try a provincial nomination pathway if it provides a more favorable outcome.
If there is slim chance of obtaining success, this consultant must also be candid enough to give you a honest assessment for you to consider other options.
The Consultant should provide a range of solutions
Sometimes, to an applicant, there is no clear cut pathway to a Canadian permanent residence. It may require a temporary visa, a specific length of stay in Canada, or fulfill certain qualifications to get there. Applicants generally have limited know-how on which is the best solution available. A skilled consultant will be able to refer to a previous case he or she handled, or a recent amendment of immigration law that may apply to you, and advise you to take the route.
For example, if the closest option for you to gain permanent residency is to take up temporary visa to enter Canada by certain age, he or she will articulate it for you in layman’s terms while citing previous clients as references of success. By creating this personalized roadmap to PR objective, the representative is clearly able to show value through his or her knowledge in the industry.
The consultant be well-versed with the Canadian job market
Canada’s pool of in-demand jobs will be given priority in processing skilled migratin application. A reliable immigration consultsant will examine your past and current occupsation and match it with appropriate Canadian occupational equivalent.
A good immigration consultant will correctly identify your Canadian occupational code and show how your work experiences align with the job described in the Canadian code. He or she may advise you to demonstrate your ability to perform certain job description through through certifications or skill assessments to strengthen its match with the desired Canadian occupational code.
This is a crucial step as a mismatch between occupational code description and your job experience will result to your application being refused.
If your profession is included in a list of regulated occupations in Canada, the consultant will inform you of any licensing procedures and help you to start the process. This information will form an integral part of your visa application as you will need to demonstrate to the visa office that your skills fit the jobs available in Canada.
It is a mandatory requirement to have your qualifications and experience assessed by a designated third party who will perform a conversion against Canadian standards.
The consultant must present a clear fee structure
In some cases, Canada migration applicants might not mind the cost associated with hiring a consultant. They just want to get to their desired objective of becoming legitimate settlers in Canada. However, many others are conscious of the fees and rightfully so.
Therefore, it is very important to be upfront about fees collected as part of the consulting service. Some agents collect fees in full only if the application is successful, others require fees at certain stages of the application. Regardless of the fee structure, this must be clearly understood by an applicant like yourself. This helps avoid confusion and potential conflict during the course of your application.
Presenting a clear and transparent fee structure is the responsibility of a consultant. A well-explained list of fees builds trust and conveys a level of trustworthiness. If your agent has vague and complicated fee structure, it might be better to look elsewhere to replace him or her. A good consultant always makes sure that his clients clearly know about the fees, which services are chargeable, and when they should be paid.