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.
Toronto is having a big tech moment
January 21, 2018
The following article, which appeared on CNN’s website on January 20, 2018, speaks volumes about Toronto both in terms of the strength of its technology sector and the cultural/ethnic diversity of the city. The article makes specific mention of the fact that the percentage of foreign-born residents in the Greater Toronto Area region — 39.7% — exceeds every other city in North America. Toronto is praised for both its education system and for being the benefactor of Canada’s generous Immigration program. The article is reproduced in its entirety from the CNN website and is a recommended read for immigrants and intending immigrants, considering where to reside in Canada and whether to settle in Toronto.
After promising to search North America for the perfect home for its next headquarters, Amazon has narrowed its list to 20 cities — 19 of which are in the United States. The one exception? Toronto.
An outlier on Amazon’s list, Toronto has earned the attention of the technology world due to its diverse population, talent pool and welcome stance on immigration.
“It’s got this incredible aspiration for inclusivity,” Dan Doctoroff, CEO of Sidewalk Labs, the urban innovation arm of Google’s parent company which is developing a Toronto neighborhood, said at an event Wednesday. “If Amazon sees what we see here, it won’t even be a close call.”
Toronto is the fourth largest city by population in North America, with 2.8 million people. Its percentage of foreign-born residents in the region — 39.7% — exceeds every other city on Amazon’s list. Its population has grown by more than 400,000 people in the last five years.
Toronto’s appeal to the tech sector, which relies on foreign workers, has grown amid diverging stances on immigration from the U.S. and Canadian governments. Last year, Canada launched a program to process work permits and visa applications for skilled workers within two weeks.
The Trump administration has moved to tighten access to H-1B visas, a popular route to tech jobs for foreign workers. Its 2017 travel ban for six majority-Muslim countries also rattled the tech industry, triggering foreigners to give more serious consideration to education and work outside the U.S.
“The more inclusive we are, the more we will win against communities that are trying to exclude any group of talent,” Karen Greve Young, vice president of corporate development and partnerships at Mars, a Toronto organization that supports startups, told CNN Tech.
In 2017, the University of Toronto’s computer science program saw a 50% increase in graduate school applicants, according to its director of professional programs, Matt Medland.
The university is also home to a superstar in the world of artificial intelligence, professor Geoffrey Hinton. Tech giants such as Google and Amazon see artificial intelligence as essential to the future of their companies.
In its bid to host Amazon’s second headquarters, Toronto promised to boost the number of the students graduating with STEM degrees. Toby Lennox, CEO of Toronto Global, which organized Toronto’s submission, believes talent is why Toronto was the only non-U.S. city to make Amazon’s list.
“We’re able to meet their needs across the board,” Lennox said. “Once you match that with an immigration system and an education system that is so welcoming, it makes for large employers a real opportunity.”
Lennox said he heard from a company interested in Toronto because it needed workers who could speak four different Portuguese dialects.
“We’ve just made the playoffs,” Toronto Mayor John Tory told CNN Tech. “But it’s a long way to the prize.”
Quota for 2014 Parent/Grandparent Sponsorship Program Full
February 4, 2014
On February 3, 2014, Citizenship and Immigration Canada announced that the 2014 quota of 5,000 new Parent/Grandparent Sponsorship Applications had been met. No new Applications will be accepted for processing until January 2015, at which time it is anticipated that the quota will be raised from 5,000 new Applications to 20,000 new Applications. Further details will be released by Citizenship and Immigration Canada closer to that date.
In the interim, and as an alternative to being sponsored, parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens/permanent residents still have the option of applying for a “Parent and Grandparent Super Visa,” which will be valid for up to ten (10) years. The multiple-entry visa allows an applicant to remain in Canada for up to twenty-four (24) months at a time without the need for renewal of their status. The Parent and Grandparent Super Visa came into effect on December 1, 2011, and Citizenship and Immigration Canada will be able to issue the visas, on average, within eight (8) weeks of the application.