Immigration is a strong and developing area of law. Foreigners need to engage the services of immigration lawyers to guide them in the necessary steps needed to apply for their citizenship or immigration application.
Experienced immigration lawyers have built relationships with applicable Government departments, which includes Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Service Canada, Provincial Departments (SCPD), and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Hence consulting an Immigration Experts can be helpful.
Why hire Immigration Lawyers?
As a foreigner, you have to consult best immigration lawyers so you can ask them necessary questions. Immigration lawyers work with corporations and other employers to help foreigners understand the legal steps to follow in inviting skilled employees to work in Canada.
These Lawyers can help with the immigration documents required and they can identify how immigration law might affect the candidate’s application.
In addition, immigration lawyer act as representatives and help their clients to hire skilled workers to fix their Labours shortages. Immigration lawyers also work with individuals to assist them understand the steps required to sponsor an individual such as spouse, dependents or other family members if they are qualified.
One last thing, Immigration Lawyers also help their clients in obtaining permanent residence, work permits, and study permits once the eligibility criteria has been met as specified by the Government.
How to become a certified Canadian Immigration Lawyer
You need to earn specific credentials to become an immigration lawyer in Canada. To begin with, you must earn a bachelor’s degree from a reputable university and earn good grades to qualify for the next step.
You will also need a good recommendation letter from your Professors office, which means that you must have a healthy relationship with your Professor to receive a good reference.
Furthermore, you need to earn a Graduate Diploma in Immigration and Citizenship Law, which is a three-semester program to complete in one year.
Universities of Law charge fees per semester and you are required to pay about of $14,000.You may not need to go to school, as your courses may be through online learning.
You need to be involved in coursework and weekly tutorials for about 40-48 hours per week. To qualify for the next step, you need to get 70% in all your law courses.
Lastly, you need to write the Entry –To- Practice Exam (EPE) organized by Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC).
Students writes the EPE exam every year consisting of 140 questions, which is one of the techniques to test your knowledge as a future immigration lawyer.
The exam takes a total of 3 hours to complete. Note that only Permanent citizens of Canada and Canadian citizens qualify to take the exam.
After completing and passing the Entry –To- Practice exams, you are now an immigration lawyer, and can work as a Canadian immigration lawyer.
Immigration Lawyer Salaries
On average, immigration lawyers salary is approximately $67,500 per year or $34.62 per hour. Entry level position starts with $55,000 per year while most experienced workers make up to $104,200 per year.
Who are Immigration Representatives?
Immigration Representative can be lawyers, citizenship or immigration consultants, family members, friends and third parties who are granted an authorization to act on an applicant’s behalf.
In Canada, visa applicants may decide whether to choose a representative or not as it does not guarantee special consideration upon approval.
Applicants, especially those applying from overseas as advised to beware of fraudulent representatives. Scammers can take advantages of immigrants and job seekers as common frauds includes free travel, promise of permanent immigration and so on.
Types of Immigration Representatives
Below are two (2) types of immigration representatives:
- Paid representatives.
- Unpaid representatives.
#1. Paid representatives
If you are to hire a paid representative, you must first check if they possess a license to practice. Some agents may decide to charge you a fee or receive any other means of payment. These people are also known as “authorized” representatives.
Most often, authorized representatives are prominent lawyers who are members of the Canadian Provincial or Territorial Law Society and The Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council.
Additionally, if you are to pay a Canada immigration representative in exchange for their services, ensure they are prominent representatives of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC).
#2. Unpaid representatives
Unpaid Reps can also “third parties” assistance providers such friends, family members, and supporters who will not charge a fee for assisting with your Canadian visa or immigration applications.
They offer the same services that Paid Representatives render to their clients. However, due to incompetency, you are accountable for all the information in your application. Mistakes in application are inherent when handled by inexperienced representatives.
In Canada, misrepresentation is one top cause of visa refusal and inadmissibility. Thus, you need to beware of representatives who advise you to lie during the course of your application as it is against the law.
If your representative breaks the law on your behalf, they will charge their resident country under:
- Immigration and Refugee Protection.
- Criminal Code of Canada.
Remember that by authorizing a representative, whether paid or unpaid, you are granting that person access to your information and so can check your application status for in your absence.
Licensed representatives can suggest which program to apply for and update your immigration application for you. Find out how to give someone access to your file as a non-representative.
Sometimes, people who may offer to help you in some part of the application process do not need your personal information. However, they need to have your approval before IRCC can release information to them.
For instance, someone may help you get a computer for easy access to information online, help you get your documents translated, make travel plans for you and help you register the course you want to study in Canada, as these people can be family or friends, educational agents and so on.
Applying for immigration in Canada
Below are the steps to follow for a successful immigration and application to Canada:
- Create an account
- Procure required forms
- Provide biometrics and police certificate
- Go for medical examination
- Hiring a representative
1. Create an account
Firstly, you need to create an account and login. By doing this, it helps you start an application by paying your application fee, you also get mails regarding the status your application.
2. Procure required forms
Secondly, you need to get the forms you need to come to Canada either to apply for Canadian citizenship or to get a Permanent Resident Card.
The next step is to check for the processing time of your application. This enables you to know how long it takes IRCC to process your application. Processing times varies country to country.
3. Provide biometrics and police certificate
Additionally, you need to give your biometrics (fingerprints) after you apply. You also need a police certificate to ascertain if you have a criminal record.
The certificate is to show the country you are immigrating to that you are of good character who maintains a clean slate.
Police certificates differ in each country. They can be called Good conduct Certificates, Police clearance Certificates and so on.
4. Go for medical examination
Finally, you need to take medical examination by scheduling an Immigration Medical Examination (IME) with the Panel physician office. Upfront medicals may be used, otherwise kindly wait for IRCC to invite you for medical check up.
5. Hiring a representative
Once you have decided to use an immigration and citizenship representative, the next step is to choose between a paid representative or a third parties representative. To proceed, you need submit the representative’s name, and contact address.
As a rule, your representative must have signed the representative form and submitted it together with your application. It is compulsory you must submit this form even if you are not paying your representative. Use of representatives are optional.
How to choose an immigration representative
Below are the steps to follow to choose a representative to your application:
- If you want to hire a paid representative, find out if your representative is authorized.
- Complete a Use of a representative form and make sure your representative sign it.
- Make sure your personal information filled by your representative is error free and
- Avoid representatives who indicates on the form that they are Third Party representatives and later charge you a fee or ask for remuneration.
- If you haven’t applied yet, include the form in your application package and send it to the address listed in your application instruction guide.
How to change your representative
You may decide to change your representative at any point in time. To change your representative, all you need is to fill a representative form. If you have a complaint about your immigration and citizenship representative, you can change your representative anytime you wish to. Submit completed form to CIC through the web form.
Making complaints about representatives
If you have a complaint about your authorized representative or a third party representative, you need to follow the channels below in order to express your displeasure.
- For complaints regarding an immigration or citizenship consultant, you need to get in touch with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council.
Besides, if you have complaints about a representative’s staff, contact the representative to express your dissatisfaction.
- For complaints about a lawyer or witness, reach out to the law society of the province or territory in Canada.
In a situation where you realized that your representative used wrong information, you will need to contact Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
FAQs about consulting immigration lawyers
Who is an immigration lawyer?
An immigration lawyer is a legal practitioner that helps foreign nationals in immigrating to a different country.
What do immigration lawyers do?
Immigration lawyers collaborate with a governing and regulatory bodies in order to assist foreigners in moving to a country of their choice, in this case, Canada.
How much do immigration lawyer charge?
Immigration lawyers fees are charged based on hourly rate which ranges from $150 to $1,500 per hour. However, some lawyers charge a set fee for a specific service.
Where can I hire top immigration Lawyers in Canada?
Top immigration lawyers may be found in Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Surrey and most other Canadian provinces and popular cities.