Your immigration consultant is a partner in helping you realize your dreams to settle in Canada. It’s essential that you not only work well together but also that your immigration consultant has the skills that make the process easy for you and as smooth as possible.
It’s important to note that your immigration consultant is the key link in creating the best application possible. They have the experience and the exposure with immigration regulators, processes and procedures to ensure you have the best chance at being selected for immigration to Canada. Because immigration is all they do, an immigration consultant is an ideal professional to help you. But, not all immigration consultants are alike. You want someone who understands the immigration journey and your wants and needs for settling in Canada.
You must find out as much as you can about your consultant before choosing to work with them and signing a contract. Visit their website, ask questions, check online reviews, meet them in person and get to know them as much as possible. While you need to like and feel comfortable with your consultant, you also need to be sure their skills are solid and they have your interests first. The only time to ensure your consultant is a fit is before you agree to a formal working relationship, so use this time well!
There are five key factors that you should look for in your immigration consultant and learning about them may unfold like this:
Lansing is a graduate student who wants to become a permanent resident in Canada. He had help from a consultant a few years ago when he came to the country as an international student, but he wasn’t impressed with their work. Now, he’d rather find someone else who is specialized in assisting with immigration applications.
Lansing knows to check their licensing.
When he asked friends and colleagues for immigration consultants they trusted, he took the names down and checked their websites for badges and logos that indicated they were licensed immigration consultants.
There are two types of individuals who are legally able to exchange services as an immigration consultant for fees. These are lawyers certified to practice in Canada and regulated Canadian immigration consultants who have been licensed through the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC). Immigration lawyers are not certified through ICCRC, so you must check with their bar association to ensure they are licensed. You can check on the ICCRC website to ensure a Regulated Canadian immigration consultant is certified. Two other types of individuals can practice immigration in Canada, these are paralegals in Ontario and Notary Publics in Quebec.
He sent an email and set up an in-person meeting to get a feel for the communication skills of the two consultants he was considering.
Once Lansing was certain both people had the legal authority to help him, he wanted to get to know their communication style and what to expect from them. Preparing an immigration application and package requires gathering a lot of information which means supplying several documents and have numerous conversations whether in person, on the phone or via electronic means. Lansing wanted a feel for how the immigration consultants communicated, how they would collect information, how quickly they would reply when he had questions and who on their team would be part of communication.
You want an immigration consultant who is professional, forthcoming and genuinely interested in helping you. They should be able to convey these attributes when they meet you.
Lansing wanted someone different from his first immigration consultant – who wasn’t as detail-oriented as he’d have preferred. This time, he wanted someone skilled with details.
It had been a challenge when Lansing was constantly answering questions that he felt should have been handled at the start. He knew his immigration application and package would include a vast amount of information and a significant number of forms and documents. One missed piece of information could cause delays and potentially cause him to lose out on an opportunity.
You will want to know the process of your regulated Canadian immigration consultant and their team – how will they ensure every piece of the required information is collected and included? Be sure that the immigration consultant you are considering helps you understand all of the options available to you, regardless of whether they are your choice or not.
Analysis and decision making were also important to Lansing’s decision of who to work with.
An experienced, professional immigration consultant is aware of the vast number of immigration programs and streams a candidate can apply through, Lansing wanted someone who could look at the full picture of what he had to offer Canada as a permanent resident and determine the best program. He also wanted to settle in BC, where he currently lived, so he needed a consultant familiar with the provincial nominee programs in the province.
Your immigration consultant should guide you through understanding the various provinces and territories in Canada so that you have a sense of the regional programs as well as the lifestyles in those areas. By looking at your desires for life in Canada, a great immigration consultant should be able to identify the best program for everyone’s success.
Lansing started with asking friends for input, but he also wanted to talk to referrals from the immigration consultant he was thinking of working with.
Lansing felt comfortable with one of the consultants when he met them. Some immigration candidates go with their gut-reaction to make a decision, but he knew he needed more information. He asked for references.
References can tell you more about what your consultant will be like when you get into the process of completing your application and the steps towards submission. Ask references what the immigration consultant’s personality is like, how they reacted to challenges that came up and who you worked within their firm.
Finding the right immigration consultant is an essential part of your immigration package. Make sure you choose one that is certified and can do the best job possible to help you gain permanent residence to Canada faster.