When you hire an immigration representative in Canada, you have an important choice to make. Who would you trust to handle your application: an immigration lawyer or an immigration consultant?
Many people instantly lean towards hiring a lawyer. They might have never heard about immigration consultants before but everybody knows who a lawyer is and it just sounds better! All in all, it is totally fine to choose an immigration lawyer but if you believe they are better for you just because of their status, you might be mistaken.
Typically, lawyers study immigration law for approximately three months as one of their courses and it is not their focus. They might end up knowing less than an immigration consultant but charge at least twice the price.
Immigration consultants are licensed professionals who are required to have previous education, high English skills and perfect reputation to enter the field. They study for many months, researching and applying their knowledge in every aspect of the immigration field. Immigration consultants have to pass a FSE (full skills exam) which is similar to the bar exam but is focused on immigration policies. They are also required to continue professional development during their whole career to keep their licence active. After getting education and practice in the field, consultants usually offer the same immigration services that lawyers do but for half the price or less. Contrary to a popular opinion, immigration consultants have a right to represent you everywhere, except for the Federal Court. Their scope of practice includes all kinds of immigration and citizenship applications, appeals, detention reviews and more. As for the Federal Court, the vast majority of clients will never have a need to appeal there.
Regardless of who you hire, always remember to check their licence and sign a retainer agreement. Choose not only with your head but with your heart as well. You need to trust your representative to reach your immigration goals.
More on this subject: Why Do You Need An Immigration Consultant?
Next time: Why Immigrate To Canada?