You’re embarking on a future in Canada. So it makes sense that you want the best immigration support team to help complete your application.
If you’re reading this post, then you’ve likely come here looking for a Toronto immigration lawyer. And that, on first glance, makes sense. Lawyers are experts in the law, so they should be in a good position to understand what it’ll take to bring you and your loved ones to Canada.
However, you might be surprised to learn that you don’t need a Toronto immigration lawyer for the vast majority of Canadian immigration needs. In fact, you only need an immigration lawyer for representation in federal court cases, which are very rare in terms of immigration.
Working with an immigration consultant is the best way to approach your immigration needs. In this article, we’ll explain why that is the case.
Toronto Immigration Lawyers vs. Immigration Consultants
Toronto Immigration Lawyers
In general, immigration lawyers will have gone through law school and will have a law degree. However, a law degree doesn’t necessarily mean much in terms of knowing how to manage immigration cases.
For a lawyer to be great at managing immigration cases, they will need to undergo specialized education and training. Not only do they need to understand immigration law, but for lawyers to properly help you, they need to understand Canada’s immigration system.
The lawyer should also know what Canadian immigration officers are expecting from successful applications and, if need be, managing immigration appeals for unsuccessful applications.
If you find experienced Toronto immigration lawyers with those qualities, then that’s great, but those kinds of lawyers aren’t common. The majority of ‘immigration lawyers’ only offer immigration support as one of several services, and in many cases, it isn’t their strongest work.
Do You Find Canada’s Immigration Rules Too Confusing?
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Immigration consultants report to the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC), an independent body that regulates the immigration services industry.
The ICCRC requires immigration consultants to complete an undergraduate degree and an intensive 6-12 month approved training program. This program focuses on immigration law and delivering immigration support services.
After completing the program, consultants (officially termed “Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants” or RCIC) must pass the ICCRC’s Entry-to-Practice-Exam (EPE).
In terms of legal education, the only difference is that the lawyer learned about the law in other areas. But in terms of immigration, lawyers and consultants are very similar.
But as we noted earlier, there’s more to properly managing immigration cases than education alone. Experience counts as well, and by a lot.
Selecting the Right Program
There are over 80 different immigration programs in Canada. You want experts who know which one you qualify for, even if that program isn’t the one you planned on using.
Knowing How to Convince Immigration Officers
Next, you need someone who knows what Canada’s immigration authorities are thinking on a day-to-day basis. Since consultants submit Permanent Residency (PR) or other applications each day, they pick up on trends in terms of what officers like and dislike.
Gathering Your Documentation
You should have an expert who understands the difficulty involved with gathering the right documentation, such as ECAs and reference letters. You don’t want someone who leaves you to deal with this alone. You want support in getting the right files, and getting them on time.
Going the Extra Mile
Because consultants specialize in immigration programs, they need to build capacity to handle every immigration program. As an example, when it comes to business immigration, you will find consultants who will help you write business plans. You won’t find this support at law firms.
You’ll only get this level of support from an expert with experience, and consultants only work immigration cases. Lawyers, on the other hand, work on different kinds of cases, and most of them aren’t related to immigration, much less your specific program.
Finally, like lawyers, consultants have liability insurance. So you’re protected when working with either one. Consultants also follow strict client management processes (required by the ICCRC).
“Do I Need an Immigration Lawyer in Toronto?”
The only scenario where you need a Toronto immigration lawyer is when you need legal advice or representation at the federal court level. But for every other situation, especially for managing immigration applications, you should work with an immigration consultant.
Consultants can also support ‘complex’ cases. So just because a case is complex, that doesn’t mean you need an immigration lawyer. You only need a lawyer for a specific situation — if you need representation in federal court.
Even if you’re criminally inadmissible to Canada or need refugee protection, unless your case involves the federal court, you can work with an immigration consultant.
Think of a lawyer as a dental surgeon specializing in inserting implants. If you don’t require any implants, you don’t need a dental surgeon. Instead, you’ll be better served by a general dentist who’ll spend time focusing on your oral health (and preventing the need for implants).
If you need to present yourself at a federal court, then you need to hire a lawyer. However, if you need help with a specific immigration application process, then find someone who has a proven track record of managing your type of case. In most situations, that will be an immigration consultant.
How Much do Toronto Immigration Lawyers Cost vs Immigration Consultants
Finally, Toronto immigration lawyers are also generally more expensive to hire than consultants. Immigration lawyers will charge for legal consultation and hourly rates for the time they spend on your application. Meaning you’ll likely pay an hourly fee regardless of how long it takes.
Immigration consultants will generally price their services for each immigration program upfront. So no matter how long it takes them to complete your application, you’ll only pay the price they tell you at the beginning.
Costs are an important factor. The less you spend trying to immigrate, the more money you’ll have to start your new life in Canada. Be sure to confirm that you NEED a lawyer before overspending for more than you’ll need to complete your immigration.
To get a good idea of what you need, you can use our checklist.
Have More Immigration Questions?
- How To Immigrate To Canada
- Immigration Changes in Canada? It’s Effects on the Frequently Used “Express Entry Calculator”
- Parents and Grandparents Sponsorship-Win the Draw!
Are you finding Canada’s immigration rules too confusing and complicated? Are you having trouble finding all of the necessary documents for your application? Are you worried about
the immigration officer rejecting your application?
No matter the situation, our team at Bright Immigration will help take out the headaches and tension involved with immigrating to Canada. Call us today and put your application — and your Canadian dream — back on track!