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If you’re planning to immigrate to Canada, the Canadian government offers numerous resources to help you complete the process. Instead of going it alone, researching Canadian immigration lawyers can make the process much less complicated on your part, but one of the first things you’ll notice is that Canada has both lawyers and consultants who deal with immigration concerns.
If you’re curious about the differences between these two professions, you’re not alone. The truth is, both lawyers and consultants can be excellent sources of information when you’re interested in moving to Canada, but these are still two very different professions. Below are some of the things to keep in mind when searching for an immigration lawyer or consultant.
1. Law School Vs. No Law School
The first thing to remember is that immigration lawyers always go to law school, whereas consultants do not. Most lawyers have a regular undergraduate degree plus three years of law school, after which they have to pass the bar exam. Consultants, on the other hand, usually complete a one-year certification program but aren’t required to have an undergraduate degree first. That being said, both lawyers and consultants can help you immigrate to Canada, although if you do have to go before a judge in federal court, a consultant is unable to go with you and offer legal representation.
2. Regulation Of Lawyers
Canadian immigration lawyers like Bellissimo are regulated independently by provincial agencies, so the location of the lawyer will determine what agency regulates them. When they register, immigration lawyers have to register with the bar and the province where they live. Unlike consultants, they do not have a CICC – College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants – number. This means that if you are researching immigration consultants and they tell you they have a CICC number, this could very well be a red flag you might want to be conscious of.
3. Regulation Of Consultants
Consultants are regulated through the CICC, and if you want to make sure your consultant is legit, they must have this number. If they call themselves a consultant but have no CICC number, they are not legal immigration consultants. The seven-digit CICC number shows that these consultants are officially certified, but just because they say they have one of these numbers doesn’t mean they do. In fact, if you’re researching immigration consultants and they tell you they have a CICC number, you should go to a governmental website and verify that this number is indeed theirs.
4. The Fees Can Be Different
Whether you’re working with an immigration lawyer or a consultant, you need to compare apples to apples when comparing their fees. Canadian immigration lawyers don’t necessarily have higher fees than consultants do, but if you want to compare them fairly, ask them the exact same question both times. After all, a work permit is different from a study permit, so make sure you have all of the details straight before you consult with a professional, and make sure you ask them both the exact same question and give them the same details so that you end up with an accurate fee amount.
On this note, you should keep in mind that the fee shouldn’t be the only point to consider when comparing professionals who can help you. Both lawyers and consultants are excellent sources for helping you immigrate to Canada, and while there is never a guarantee that your immigration attempt will be successful, you’ll know you gave it all you got if you work with one of these experts. Indeed, when immigration to Canada is what you want, both immigration lawyers and immigration consultants can be a huge help.