Important Factors When Seeking Canadian Immigration Advice
Choosing the right Canadian immigration law firm to represent you may turn out to be one of the most important decisions of your life. For this reason, we always recommend that our clients schedule a detailed personal or telephone consultation so that you can have direct access to a licensed Canadian immigration expert. You and your potential representative can then give each other your undivided attention to what is a life changing decision. Canadian immigration advice should never been rushed without full consideration of your personal characteristics as the chances of an application succeeding often depends on minor details.
A detailed consultation also enables you to evaluate the immigration lawyer’s expertise, personality and responsiveness. If the consultation is properly utilized, the time spent will leave you with a strong understanding of your case, including a realistic assessment of your chances of success and whether this is the right immigration lawyer to represent you.
Preparing for Your Canadian Immigration Consultation
If you are not properly prepared for the consultation and do not know what questions to ask or what to look for, you may not maximize the benefit of your Canadian immigration consultation. Furthermore, you may make a decision you they will later regret. That decision may impact your finances, family and future ability to reside in Canada.
Therefore, it is critical that you know what to ask and how to prepare for your Canadian immigration consultation. These three tips will guide you:
1) Become an educated customer.
Prior to scheduling a Canadian immigration consultation, do your homework with regard to the firm you are considering instructing. In conducting your research, you will want to find out:
Whether the firm/lawyer is licensed by the ICCRC to provide Canadian immigration services;
Their six-digit ICCRC membership number; and
Whether they practice many types of law or only devote their practice 100% to Canadian immigration law.
If the company do not give you their ICCRC license number then you know they do not operate according to a professional code of ethics, will not hold valid liability insurance and cannot advocate with the Canadian High Commission on your behalf. Dismiss the company and move on to the next firm on your list.
2) Bring all relevant documents.
In order for your potential lawyer to properly advise you, provide them with the benefit of having all relevant information on-hand.
If your application is a family-based case, bring marriage, birth and divorce certificates. For employment-based cases, bring a copy of your C.V. For business/investor class cases bring documentation related to your net worth and business or senior managerial experience.
If your consultation is by telephone, the relevant documents should be forwarded to the lawyer prior to the interview.
3) Know which questions to ask.
One of the most important aspects of seeking Canadian immigration advice is feeling comfortable and confident with your representative. To that end, during your consultation, be sure to understand whether the lawyer you are speaking with will be the one actually working on your case so that your case proceeds smoothly. Important questions include:
Whether the lawyer has previously worked on the type of immigration matter that concerns you;
Whether the lawyer has experience working for high-profile clients or government agencies;
Their success rate and what criteria they use to assess your chances of success;
How long the lawyer has been practicing immigration law;
Whether the lawyer offers fixed pricing or only allows pricing on an hourly basis.
The name and contact information for their regulator, the ICCRC.
Their six-digit ICCRC license number which must be cross-referenced with the ICCRC search tool.
Will they provide an ICCRC compliant contract of service clearly defining the nature and scope of work required as well as their duties and responsibilities?
During your Canadian immigration consultation be sure to assess whether the lawyer is knowledgeable in answering your questions.
Useful resources include the member search tool provided by the ICCRC on their website, background information available on the firm’s website, video testimonials and independent law firm rankings.
Coming prepared to the consultation, researching beforehand, and knowing what to ask can make all the difference in the world between positive results in an immigration case or disappointment and frustration.