If you’re looking to immigrate to the United States, the Caribbean, Europe, or Canada, you’ve likely searched for an “immigration lawyer.” But while browsing for recommended immigration lawyers, your general search probably yielded several companies offering their services. Individuals working at these companies might call themselves “consultants,” and may leave you wondering if they are as qualified as a lawyer, or if there is a better option out there. While consultants aren’t better or worse than lawyers by definition, experience is the key asset to look for when searching for an immigration professional. It is important for foreign nationals seeking permanent residency or citizenship abroad to think about immigration needs, not only for themselves but for their immediate families as well.
Making the move: things to consider when deciding to immigrate
One of the first things to consider is where you want to immigrate. Many countries have different requirements and standards when it comes to working with immigration lawyers or consultants. While countries like Canada allow you to be represented by certified consultants or immigration lawyers, the United States, for instance, has no certification process for immigration consultants as a profession. This means there are no standardized tests or education requirements to formally establish credibility. That’s not to say uncertified professionals are unqualified, but rather individuals looking into immigration services should make sure the reputation of their selected immigration professional is trustworthy.
However, not all immigration lawyers and consultants have comprehensive knowledge of residency and/or citizenship requirements for Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, or the U.S. as a whole. Some professionals might specialize in one country or region, such as Canada or Europe. As discussed in a previous blog, research is key to weighing out your options and choosing the right immigration companies to work with.
Types of services: immigration lawyer vs. immigration consultant
In Canada, a licensed immigration consultant is just as qualified as an immigration lawyer when it comes to providing you with immigration services. One difference is that certified consultants must be registered with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC), which requires them to take and pass certain immigration courses and exams. They pay a yearly fee to remain members of the ICCRC and must regularly take courses to remain informed on current immigration policy.
On the other hand, Canadian immigration lawyers and attorneys are not required to be members of ICCRC, although many are. Even more, Canadian immigration lawyers and attorneys are held to specific ethics and standards of practice regulated by the bar association and law societies of Canada.
For immigration to Canada and the rest of the world, solid experience in the immigration field is probably the most important thing to look for when deciding between an immigration lawyer or consultant. Although reputable immigration lawyers and consultants often have higher fees than their competitors, it is important to weigh the benefits of their services. Immigration lawyers and consultants should be well informed of not only residency and citizenship programs offered from country to country, but have working knowledge of a country’s local and federal immigration regulations. While this will certainly improve a client’s chances for successful immigration, it in no way guarantees approval of an application, and no company, immigration lawyer or consultant should boast such claims. Immigration planning is a long and complex process, and the outcome of an application is determined by many factors not limited to the client, immigration professionals, and respective government of the chosen country.
With a growing demand for permanent residency and citizenship programs around the world, finding the right professionals to work with can be an intimidating experience, to say the least. The best bet for any individual exploring immigration options is to do proper research whether online, by word-of-mouth, or referral.
While it’s not uncommon for potential clients to “shop around,” it’s important to understand the types of services being offered by an immigration company, and even more, the qualifications of those offering them.
Quebec Investment Consultation and Management Services LLC (QICMS) is a recognized investment immigration firm based in Amman, Jordan, with extensive experience in the immigration practice. Our team of qualified professionals is available to help clients from around the world find business immigration solutions tailored to their needs. QICMS is partnered with Campbell Cohen, Canada’s leading immigration law firm located in Quebec. Our international network of immigration lawyers, consultants, paralegals, and staff members are endeavored to providing clients with the best service throughout the immigration process.
Contact our office today to begin your immigration planning and take the first step towards a better future.
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