Lawyer versus consultant? Immigration data shows visa applicants have best shot with former
December 10, 2018
The following article appeared in the Sunday, December 9, 2018 edition of the Toronto Star newspaper. Its contents have been reproduced in their entirety. The article offers some interesting insights into the advantages of using the services of a Canadian Immigration lawyer over those of a Canadian Immigration consultant; however, we leave it up to our readers to draw their own conclusions.
By NICHOLAS KEUNG Immigration Reporter
Sun., Dec. 9, 2018
Foreign nationals who prepare their own Canadian visa applications are nearly as successful in being accepted as those who spend money on a consultant to do the job.
But chances of success are much higher if they hire an immigration lawyer to help get their study, work or visitor visas, according to immigration data obtained under an access to information request.
Canada received 342,154 temporary resident applications in 2017, the data shows. While 86 per cent of applicants declared themselves as self-represented, 6 per cent were represented by consultants and another 5 per cent by lawyers. The remaining 3 per cent hired Quebec notaries or used “non-remunerated” representatives.
Overall, 18.9 per cent of the applications were rejected. Those who prepared their own applications had a 19.3 per cent refusal rate, slightly higher than the 18 per cent among those who paid a consultant to do it.
In contrast, only 10.4 per cent of applications prepared by a lawyer were rejected. The refusal rates for applications prepared by Quebec notaries and unpaid representatives were 13.1 per cent and 10.1 per cent respectively.
Marina Sedai, chair of the immigration section of the Canadian Bar Association, said she wasn’t surprised lawyers had the highest success rate.
“Canadian lawyers’ rigorous education, legal analysis skills, and high ethical standards enforced by an effective regulator, have long been understood to result in better outcomes,” Sedai said.
“Lawyers’ culture of the law being a calling rather than a business means that although lawyers will often take the tough cases, they will also protect clients by advising them against hopeless cases.”
When it comes to the lower success rate for consultants, lawyers are quick to point out that group has lower educational requirements and a less robust regulatory regime than lawyers. For their part, consultants say the immigration data is too general and doesn’t give the full picture.
“It is based on the flawed assumption that all applications are equally complex. In reality, applications completed by unpaid representatives may be far simpler, thus having a much higher chance of success,” said the Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants in a statement to the Star.
Currently, licensed immigration consultants must meet a minimum language requirement and graduate from an accredited immigration practitioner program, which takes about a year to complete full time. While only about 1,000 lawyers practise immigration law, there are five times more licensed consultants in Canada.
“Immigration lawyers typically have completed a four-year bachelor’s degree before undergoing a very competitive process for admission to law school. Law school degrees take three years to complete and are also no cakewalk. Then there is the bar admissions course which must be passed, the articling process, etcetera,” said Toronto immigration lawyer Ravi Jain.
“Many immigration consultants have only completed online courses at a community college. The education and training is just not comparable.”
The immigration consultants’ association, which has more than 2,000 members, said it’s pleased more people are using consultants and believed that’s due to the generally higher fees charged by their lawyer counterparts.
Regulatory bodies for lawyers and consultants do not mandate how much their members can charge clients, but fees can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
Jain, who is also vice chair of the bar association’s immigration division, said the success rate for lawyers would likely be even higher if not for the fact lawyers often take up very difficult and complex cases.
“A lot of my clients come to me after they have gone to a consultant or tried on their own,” Jain said, adding many are reluctant to lodge a complaint against their former consultant and prefer just to have him reapply.
“It’s much more difficult to obtain approvals when applications have already been refused,” he added.
New Definition of Age of Dependants Now in Force
November 2, 2017
On Friday, October 27, 2017, the Government of Canada has changed the definition of the age of dependants from “under 19” to “under 22,” as it had promised to do.
This change applies to all new applications received by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on or after October 24, 2017.
IRCC also announced that it would allow for the addition or sponsorship of some children whose parents had existing applications in process on May 3, 2017, or who have applied since that time.
Permanent residence applicants who wish to add or sponsor a child who was 19, 20, or 21 years of age on May 3, 2017, or on the date IRCC received the parents’ application (if between May 3, and October 23, 2017) should notify IRCC as soon as possible, using a web form, as the notification period will end on January 31, 2018.
Once IRCC has been advised, they will contact applicants directly to tell them what they need to do to sponsor or add their child to their application.
Change of Age of “Dependent Child”
June 18, 2014
Please be advised that as of August 1, 2014, the definition of a
“dependent child” will change to be a person who is LESS THAN 19
years of age and is not a spouse or common-law partner; or a person
who is 19 years of age or older who has depended substantially on the
financial support of the parent since before the age of 19 and is
unable to be financially self-supporting due to a physical or mental condition.
Anyone seeking to include a dependent child under the age of 22, or
over the age of 22 who has been enrolled in a full-time program of
study since before turning 22 years of age who remains financially
dependent on the parent MUST have his/her Application for Permanent
Residence received by Citizenship and Immigration Canada prior to August 1, 2014.
Nova Scotia Provincial Nominee Program (Regional Labour Market Demand Stream) NOW CLOSED
April 28, 2014
On Monday, April 28, 2014, the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration announced that the Regional Labour Market Demand Stream is now closed and will not be accepting any Applications that are not received in the office and/or post-marked by end-of-day April 28, 2014.
The Nova Scotia Office of Immigration is processing Applications to reach the 150 nominations. Applications are being dealt with on a first-come, first-served basis.
Once the 150 nominees are identified, any Applications that are not processed will be returned to applicants.
The Stream will open again on January 1st, 2015. Anyone whose Application was returned is encouraged to re-apply at that time.
If you are an existing client of Abrams & Krochak and have already had your Application filed with the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration on or before April 28, 2014, you can disregard this message as you wait to see whether you have been nominated by Nova Scotia.
If you are an existing client of Abrams & Krochak and have not yet had your Application filed with the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration on or before April 28, 2014, you have two (2) options:
(i) You can send an e-mail to our office at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to have your eligibility to immigrate to Canada reassessed in the Federal Skilled Worker Class;
(ii) You can wait until the new Stream is announced around January 1, 2015 to see whether you still qualify and, if so, apply then.
Any correspondence on this issue from EXISTING, paid clients should be sent to email@example.com, only.
IMPORTANT Further Information Regarding the Nova Scotia Provincial Nominee Program (Regional Labour Market Demand Stream)
March 21, 2014
On Thursday, March 20, 2014, the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration published new information, regarding the Provincial Nominee Program (Regional Labour Market Demand Stream).
Nova Scotia continues to accept Applications from interested candidates. Although Nova Scotia will only be nominating 150 applicants in 2014, those who are not chosen will be given the option of keeping their Application in the queue for reconsideration next year. The applicants with the best chance of being nominated are those who file a complete Application (i.e. include all of the information and documents that are required) and show a sincere intention to live in Nova Scotia. Once an Application is filed, supplementary documentation will NOT be accepted.
Because of the large number of Applications that Nova Scotia is receiving, selection decisions will be made within a period of three (3) months or less from the date of receipt.
NEW IMMIGRATION PROGRAM-NOVA SCOTIA NOMINEE PROGRAM-REGIONAL LABOUR MARKET DEMAND STREAM
March 12, 2014
Nova Scotia is one of Canada’s three Maritime provinces and constitutes one of the four Atlantic Canada provinces. It is the second-smallest province in Canada with an area of 55,284 square kilometres (21,300 sq mi), including Cape Breton Island and another 3,800 coastal islands. As of 2011, the population was 921,727, making Nova Scotia the second-most-densely populated province in Canada. For more information about Nova Scotia, please visit our website and, in particular, the following URL: http://www.akcanada.com/lic_novascotia.cfm.
Recently, the Government of Nova Scotia introduced the new Nova Scotia Nominee Program – Regional Labour Market Demand Stream, which is aimed at selecting individuals who meet the labour market needs, are destined to join the labour market with a full-time and permanent position, and wish to live in the Province of Nova Scotia permanently. It is ideal for those wishing to immigrate to Canada who do not otherwise qualify under the Federal Skilled Worker Program.
Applicants are not required to have a permanent, full-time job offer from a Nova Scotia employer at the time of submitting their application; however, they must intend to pursue employment in an occupation that is in demand in the Province.
Currently, the list includes the following occupations:
- Managers in Health Care
- Retail Trade Managers
- Restaurant and Food Service Managers
- Financial Auditors and Accountants
- Other Financial Officers
- Civil Engineers
- Mechanical Engineers
- Electrical and Electronics Engineers
- Computer Engineers (Except Software Engineers and Designers)
- Information Systems Analysts and Consultants
- Database Analysts and Data Administrators
- Software Engineers and Designers
- Computer Programmers and Interactive Media Developers
- Mechanical Engineering Technologists and Technicians
- Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technologists and Technicians
- Systems Testing Technicians
- Specialist Physicians
- General Practitioners and Family Physicians
- Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists
- Occupational Therapists
- Registered Nurses
- Allied primary health practitioners
- Medical Laboratory Technologists and Pathologists’ Assistants
- Respiratory Therapists, Clinical Perfusionists and Cardiopulmonary Technologists
- Medical Radiation Technologists
- Medical Sonographers
- Licensed Practical Nurses
- Other Technical Occupations in Therapy and Assessment
- Early Childhood Educators and Assistants
- Retail Trade Supervisors
- Contractors and Supervisors, Metal Forming, Shaping and Erecting Trades
- Machinists and Machining and Tooling Inspectors
- Industrial Electricians
- Welders and Related Machine Operators
- Heavy-Duty Equipment Mechanics
- Automotive Service Technicians, Truck and Bus Mechanics and Mechanical Repairers
- Crane Operators
- Supervisors, Other Mechanical and Metal Products Manufacturing
The outlook for an applicant’s intended occupation must be good-to-fair in the area he/she intends to settle in order for his/her application to be considered under the Regional Labour Market Demand stream.
Applicants eligible for nomination must meet all of the eligibility criteria below:
- An applicant must be between the ages of 21 and 55 at the time the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration receives his/her complete application;
- An applicant must have achieved a minimum language standard on the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) scale or Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) of at least CLB/NCLC Level 5;
- An applicant’s intended occupation is a National Occupational Classification (NOC) level 0, A, or B and there is demonstrated demand for this occupation in the regional labour market in the community in which the applicant intends to live;
- An applicant must be a citizen of or hold a passport or other documentation permitting him/her to legally reside in his/her current country of residence;
- An applicant must have the required amount of funds;
- An applicant must have completed the equivalent of a Canadian high school diploma with a minimum of twelve (12) years of education and/or training from a recognized educational institution AND an applicant must have completed and received a degree, diploma or certificate from a recognized post-secondary educational institution or training program. The post-secondary education or training program must have been at least one academic year in length;
- An applicant must have at least two (2) years of continuous full-time work experience within the last five (5) years, in a field of work related to his/her intended occupation in Nova Scotia;
- An applicant must demonstrate that he/she will become economically established in Nova Scotia and that he/she intends to live in the province permanently;
- An applicant must have completed an Employment and Settlement Plan which outlines his/her potential economic, labour market and social contributions to the community; and
- If required, an applicant must be able to attend an in-person interview in Nova Scotia.
Applicants are INELIGIBLE to apply if they are:
- eligible for any other stream in the Nova Scotia Provincial Nominee Program;
- intending to work in an occupation that is a National Occupational Classification (NOC) level C or D;
- a grand-parent, parent, spouse, common-law or conjugal partner of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident living in Canada, an applicant under humanitarian and compassionate grounds, a refugee claimant or a failed refugee claimant;
- in Canada illegally, under a removal order, or are prohibited from entering or being in Canada;
- an international student who is currently in study at a Canadian post-secondary institution;
- an international graduate who has graduated from a Canadian post-secondary institution and is eligible for the Canadian Experience Class;
- an international graduate who has a valid post-graduate work permit in Canada;
- an international student’s spouse, and your spouse is in study in a Canadian post-secondary institution but is not in his/her last academic year of studies;
- the spouse of an international graduate who has a valid post-graduate work permit in Canada.
- an individual with unresolved custody or child support disputes affecting any dependent;
- an individual with a full-time permanent employment offer, a seasonal, part-time or casual worker. Individuals with a full-time permanent employment offer should apply under the NSNP Skilled Worker stream;
- in a sales position that is based solely on commission for compensation;
- a helper and/or labourer in construction, agriculture or primary resources sectors;
- a live-in caregiver;
- intending to start a business and/or be self-employed in Nova Scotia;
- a passive investor (individuals who intend to invest in a Nova Scotia business with very limited or no involvement in the day-to-day management of the business).
If you had your eligibility to immigrate to Canada in the Federal Skilled Worker Class previously assessed by Abrams & Krochak and would like to have your eligibility to immigrate to Canada reassessed under the Nova Scotia Nominee Program – Regional Labour Market Demand Stream, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with your request. If you are already a client of Abrams & Krochak, and wish to obtain more information about this program, please send an e-mail to email@example.com. Otherwise, please complete our Online Eligibility Assessment Questionnaire at http://www.akcanada.com/assessment1.cfm and we will be pleased to assess you under this new and exciting program!