Advice for consumers of immigration services.
The internet seems to be full of people wanting to help other people migrate to Canada – for a fee. And there are many good people who want to migrate to Canada.
Unfortunately, many of those offering immigration services have no proper training or experience. In many countries it is enough to call yourself an “expert”, put up a sign and start sharing “advice” without any training, without any experience, without any supervision, and without any knowledge. The clients/customers are basically test subjects for the “expert” to use to see what does or does not work, by experiment.
Today I was looking at a website from India, promoting their services for immigration to Canada. There was no indication whatsoever that anyone working there had any experience or training in Canadian immigration matters. I suggest that is not a place to get assistance.
As you can imagine, in a country like Canada where there are dozens of different immigration programs, it is going to take someone who is pretending to be an “expert” a long time to actually learn something helpful. I suspect this is one reason why so many people advertising as immigration counsel focus on only one or two immigration programs – they can barely manage that (if they can manage any at all).
So how does a person who is considering migrating know who to ask for advice or who to ask to help?
The first advice I would offer is to make sure that the person you are hiring is licensed to provide this kind of service. In Canada immigration counsel have to be licensed by a provincial law society or by the immigration consultants’ regulatory council. No one else is allowed to give immigration advice.
And if someone is not licensed then you should assume they do not know what to do.
There are people who apply for immigration to Canada without any help. Do they need help? the truth is that some applicants who do it on their own are successful. But many of them are not. Many of those who were not successful should have been, if they had not made an innocent mistake along the way.
As experienced counsel I see many of these cases … once they have been refused. And, sadly,many of the refused applications could have been successful, if the applicant or their counsel had known what she or he was doing.
Could I tell you in advance which ones the applicants themselves might screw up? No. I have seen too many ways people can make mistakes.
This group of self-help applicants include many who rely upon websites that allow applicants to share experiences and give each other advice. I have been on those websites and was distressed to see how misleading many of these well-intentioned comments were.
People relying upon advice there are following others who are no more knowledgeable than they are
– it is an example of the blind leading the blind. I have been tempted to try to correct some of the horrible advice I have seen there but it is too overwhelming a task. Another bad piece of advice pops up every few minutes.
If you want assistance with a Canadian immigration matter, be you an employer, a worker, a student, a visitor, or in Canada illegally, I recommend that you use Canadian licensed immigration counsel so as to minimize the risk of unnecessary errors and missed opportunities.
You will find there are many of us to choose from. You do not need to use someone who is not qualified. And you don’t have to hire someone who is qualified either, at your own risk.