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.
Canadian Immigration News Update
January 24, 2012
AKCANADA IMMIGRATION NEWS
2011 is finally at an end. It was a year full of changes and new developments with respect to Canada’s Immigration system. This newsletter is a synopsis of all of those changes/new developments, which will continue to have an impact, well into 2012.
I. PARENTAL/GRANDPARENT SPONSORSHIPS – NEW “SUPER VISA”
Effective November 5, 2011, Citizenship and Immigration Canada was not accepting any new applications to sponsor parents or grandparents for up to twenty-four (24) months. The Department’s rationale for this decision was that the “temporary pause” would allow the Government of Canada to focus on those applicants already awaiting a decision and reduce the backlog in the parents and grandparents category.
As an alternative to sponsorship, the Government of Canada introduced the new “Parent and Grandparent Super Visa,” which will be valid for up to ten (10) years. The multiple-entry visa will allow 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. Parent and Grandparent Super Visa applicants will be required to obtain private Canadian health-care insurance for their stay in Canada.
Before submitting an application for a Super Visa, it is necessary to have a letter of invitation from a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, proof that the Canadian citizen or permanent resident has sufficient income or savings to support the visitor for the duration of the visit, and some evidence of the visitor’s ties to his/her country of citizenship to satisfy the visa officer that the visitor will return home at the end of the visit.
II. INVESTOR CATEGORY QUOTA
For the first time, ever, Citizenship and Immigration Canada imposed a quota on new applications in the Investor Category of the Business Class. Under new rules announced by the Government of Canada on June 24, 2011, a maximum of seven hundred (700) Investor Applications would be considered for processing from July 1, 2011 until June 30, 2012. The quota was quickly met.
If you wish to apply for Permanent Residence in Canada as an Investor with our assistance, it is IMPERATIVE that you retain/engage our services AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE so that we can have your entire Application package prepared and ready for filing by July 1, 2012 when the new quota for Investor Applications for the period of July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013 is announced.
III. ENTREPRENEUR CATEGORY MORATORIUM
Also on June 24, 2011, the Government of Canada announced that it is currently reviewing the Entrepreneur Category of the Business Class and imposed a moratorium on new applications. As a result, Citizenship and Immigration Canada has temporarily stopped accepting new applications until the review is finalized (the date of which is currently unknown).
IV. FEDERAL SKILLED WORKER QUOTA, DEMAND LIST AND POSSIBLE CHANGES TO POINTS SYSTEM
Under new rules announced by the Government of Canada on June 24, 2011, a maximum of ten thousand (10,000) Federal Skilled Worker Applications would be considered for processing from July 1, 2011 until June 30, 2012. Within the ten thousand (10,000) cap, a maximum of five hundred (500) Federal Skilled Worker Applications per eligible occupation (any one (1) of the twenty-nine (29) occupations that appears on Canada’s General Occupations (Demand) List) would be considered for processing from July 1, 2011 until June 30, 2012. The General Occupations (Demand) List for the period of July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012 remained the same as that for the period of June 26, 2010 to June 30, 2011.
As of January 16, 2012, 6,774 Federal Skilled Worker applications had already been received by the Centralized Intake Office and the quotas for the following occupations had already been filled:
- Restaurant and Food Service Managers
- Professional Occupations in Business Services to Management
- Biologists and Related Scientists
- Specialist Physicians
- General Practitioners and Family Physicians
- Registered Nurses
B. Demand List
As of January 16, 2012, the quotas for the following occupations remain unfilled:
- Primary Production Managers (Except Agriculture)
- Insurance Adjusters and Claims Examiners
- Medical Radiation Technologists
- Dental Hygienists & Dental Therapists
- Licensed Practical Nurses
- Social Workers
- Contractors and Supervisors, Carpentry Trades
- Contractors and Supervisors, Mechanic Trades
- Electricians (Except Industrial & Power System)
- Industrial Electricians
- Welders & Related Machine Operators
- Heavy-Duty Equipment Mechanics
- Crane Operators
- Drillers & Blasters – Surface Mining, Quarrying & Construction
- Supervisors, Oil and Gas Drilling and Service
If you wish to apply for Permanent Residence in Canada as a Federal Skilled Worker in one of the jobs whose quota has not yet been filled, it is imperative that you do so as quickly as possible so that your Application for Permanent Residence is filed before the quota for your particular occupation is reached OR the quota for ALL Federal Skilled Worker Applications is reached. Otherwise, you may have to wait until the new General Occupations (Demand) List is announced on July 1, 2012; however, should you do so, you run the risk that your occupation might no longer appear on that List, thereby rendering you ineligible to immigrate to Canada as a Federal Skilled Worker.
C. Possible Changes to Points System
Citizenship and Immigration Canada is proposing changes to the Federal Skilled Worker program to help Canada select immigrants who have the best chance of integrating and making a better contribution to the Canadian economy.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada is consulting with stakeholders and the public on the proposed changes. The input received through the consultation process will be taken into account in the development of new regulations, which could take effect as early as the late spring/summer of 2012!
What are some of the proposed changes?
- introducing minimum official language thresholds and increasing points for language;
- making changes to the assessment of education points to reflect a foreign educational credential’s value in Canada;
- redistributing points for age to benefit younger immigrants who will be active members of the workforce for a longer timeframe;
- reducing points for foreign work experience and increasing points for Canadian work experience;
- increasing the integrity of and simplifying the process for the Arranged Employment factor; and
- facilitating the immigration of skilled tradespersons through criteria that are more specific to those in the skilled trades.
V. SELF-EMPLOYED CATEGORY AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO FEDERAL SKILLED WORKER CLASS
Although there is a moratorium on new applications from Entrepreneurs, the quota for Investors is full and the quotas for the Federal Skilled Worker Class are quickly filling, one category of Immigration, which remains open and which has no quota is the Self-Employed category.
According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, a self-employed person means a foreign national who has relevant experience and has the intention and ability to be self-employed in Canada and to make a significant contribution to specified economic activities in Canada.
Relevant experience means a minimum of two (2) years of experience, during the period beginning five (5) years before the date of application for a permanent resident visa and ending on the day a decision is made on the application in any one of the following occupations:
I. Professional Occupations in Art and Culture
A. Librarians, Archivists, Conservators and Curators
- 5111 Librarians
- 5112 Conservators and Curators
- 5113 Archivists
B. Writing, Translating and Public Relations Professionals
- 5121 Authors and Writers
- 5122 Editors
- 5123 Journalists
- 5124 Professional Occupations in Public Relations and Communications
- 5125 Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters
C. Creative and Performing Artists
- 5131 Producers, Directors, Choreographers and Related Occupations
- 5132 Conductors, Composers and Arrangers
- 5133 Musicians and Singers
- 5134 Dancers
- 5135 Actors and Comedians
- 5136 Painters, Sculptors and Other Visual Artists
II. Technical and Skilled Occupations in Art, Culture, Recreation and Sport
A. Technical Occupations in Libraries, Archives, Museums and Art Galleries
- 5211 Library and Archive Technicians and Assistants
- 5212 Technical Occupations Related to Museums and Art Galleries
B. Photographers, Graphic Arts Technicians and Technical and Co-ordinating Occupations in Motion Pictures, Broadcasting and the Performing Arts
- 5221 Photographers
- 5222 Film and Video Camera Operators
- 5223 Graphic Arts Technicians
- 5224 Broadcast Technicians
- 5225 Audio and Video Recording Technicians
- 5226 Other Technical and Co-ordinating Occupations in Motion Pictures, Broadcasting and the Performing Arts
- 5227 Support Occupations in Motion Pictures, Broadcasting and the Performing Arts
C. Announcers and Other Performers
- 5231 Announcers and Other Broadcasters
- 5232 Other Performers
D. Creative Designers and Craftspersons
- 5241 Graphic Designers and Illustrators
- 5242 Interior Designers
- 5243 Theatre, Fashion, Exhibit and Other Creative Designers
- 5244 Artisans and Craftspersons
- 5245 Patternmakers – Textile, Leather and Fur Products
E. Athletes, Coaches, Referees and Related Occupations
- 5251 Athletes
- 5252 Coaches
- 5253 Sports Officials and Referees
- 5254 Program Leaders and Instructors in Recreation, Sport and Fitness
If you have self-employed work experience in any of these occupations and would like to be considered for admission to Canada as a self-employed business immigrant, please complete our Online Assessment Questionnaire at http://www.abramsandkrochak.com and we will assess your eligibility to do so within one (1) business day.
We hope you enjoyed this Newsletter. To keep up-to-date on Canadian Immigration news, please read our blog at http://www.akcanada.com
Abrams & Krochak has been helping people tens of thousands of people from around the world immigrate to Canada since 1996. If you need assistance with respect to applying for:
- Permanent Residence (Federal Skilled Worker Class/Business Class/Family Class)
- Permanent Resident Card Renewal
- Super Visa
- Work Permit
- Study Permit
- Visitor Visa
please send us a message at http://www.akcanada.com/contact.cfm and we will respond to your query within one (1) business day.
If you would like your eligibility to immigrate to Canada as a Federal Skilled Worker, Business Immigrant or Member of the Family Class assessed by Abrams & Krochak OR if you would like your eligibility to sponsor a Member of the Family Class assessed by Abrams & Krochak, please visit:
Changes to Visitor Visa Requirements
March 6, 2008
As of March 1, 2008, it is not necessary for citizens of Poland, Slovakia, Lithuania and Hungary to obtain visitor visas before travelling to Canada. Citizenship and Immigration Canada has removed the visitor visa requirement from these EU countries, with a view to some day removing visitor visa requirements from the last two EU countries that still require a visitor visa: Bulgaria and Romania. In order to obtain a visitor visa, one requires a letter of invitation from a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada that establishes the Canadian’s source of income and ability to support the visitor for the duration of his visit. The visitor should also be able to confirm that he/she has ties to his/her country of citizenship including employment, to return to following the visit. Notwithstanding evidence submitted in support of the visitor visa application, it is a discretionary application and is often refused citing the intended visitor’s lack of ties to his/her country of citizenship.
Immigrating to Canada? Visit www.akcanada.com for more information or a free assessment.