Hiring an immigration lawyer is not a requirement in the immigration process, however, there are major benefits to working with one. In fact, choosing to hire an experienced and trustworthy Canadian immigration lawyer can make the difference between a rejected and accepted application.
The decision to immigrate to Canada and make a life for oneself is never made lightly. It requires a strength of spirit, bravery and willingness to adapt to a new country with all of its challenges and opportunities. The immigration process naturally requires a great deal of paperwork, bureaucratic hurdles and policy-necessary considerations. Even temporary immigration, such as study or work permits, engages these same issues. While some immigrants choose to hope for the best and go it alone, becoming Canadian does not have to be a difficult process when a trained immigration lawyer is advocating for you.
Canadian lawyers have extensive training, knowledge, and experience in identifying, understanding, and synthesizing Canadian immigration law. Canadian immigration streams are vast and diverse. These factors can also make these streams complicated. Lawyers can translate legalese into a language you can understand.
There are well over 100 different ways to immigrate to Canada as a skilled worker. There are federal economic streams, as well as those offered by Quebec and other provinces. You have over 100 additional pathways if you wish to study or work in Canada, or immigrate here under the family and humanitarian classes. This variety means many wonderful opportunities for future Canadians and foreign nationals alike, but also creates much room for confusion and hassle. A lawyer can identify programs you may not have been previously aware of and tell you which ones you may be eligible for. They can also guide you in what steps you need to take to apply for the best immigration program for you. A lawyer’s job is to come up with a plan for you. They can also inform you of your options in appealing an unfavourable decision, and help you pursue them.
Lawyers are also subject to ongoing regulation by the various societies that monitor the legal profession. This supervision is designed to ensure a standard of knowledge, professionalism, and service. It also means you can verify your lawyer and his or her status on the websites of the provincial bar associations which have licensed them to practice in Canada.
Indeed, there are costs in engaging a lawyer. But, the costs of not engaging a lawyer— particularly in a matter as immense and life-changing as immigrating to Canada— can be infinitely higher. To use a business metaphor, investing in a Canadian immigration lawyer is not so much a sunk cost or a gamble, rather it is a prudent and smart investment that can pay rewards many times over.
A lawyer who specializes in immigration will develop a further base of knowledge and experience that can assist clients. An immigration lawyer not only can guide you in addressing any problems that arise, but they can also anticipate and prevent issues before they even develop. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada or a provincial government may return an application for being incomplete. They may also refuse an application altogether for a variety of other reasons, which may be very broad or vague. A lawyer can review your application— at any point in the process— and tell you its strengths, weaknesses, and identify any errors or omissions. This advantage can save considerable time, money, and emotional energy.
The immigration process itself, as it is, will likely consume these resources. Hiring an immigration lawyer can allow you to consolidate these assets and allow you and your family to focus on other aspects of your journey. According to statistics published in the Toronto Star in 2018, the rate of refusal of permanent residence applications for those candidates who self-represented or used immigration consultants, who are not lawyers, was almost double that of those candidates who engaged a lawyer. These numbers are both striking and telling.
Beyond immigration law itself, immigration to Canada may engage many other areas of law such as business, family, and international, to name just three. For example, a family coming to Canada as part of an entrepreneur immigration program will benefit from a lawyer with a thorough understanding of Canadian business laws, regulations, and practices. If you are looking to buy an existing business, for example, or start a new one altogether, an immigration lawyer may be well-placed to advise you on what makes the most sense for you and your situation. Immigration lawyers can foresee potential problems, opportunities— both the known and the unknown unknowns— for their clients, who are oftentimes still navigating a new language, culture, and country. Having access to the wealth of analysis and practical know-how that lawyers provide can thus be enormously useful before, during, and after one’s immigration to Canada.