For the last installment of this blog series, I will try to answer one of the most asked questions that I received since I started this blog series, the question whether you need to hire immigration representative when you apply to immigrate to Canada.
When I was still completing my family’s application for Manitoba Provincial Nominee, I didn’t use an immigration representative. As I said, processing an application for immigration is not easy but it is not cheap. We already need to pay for so many things, there’s the application fee, the right of permanent residence fee, the documentation, the medical exam and other fees associated with our application, we do not have any monies left to pay for a consultant or lawyer to represent us.
If you read the first part and third part of this blog series, I have mentioned that I do not encourage the use of an immigration representative. I must admit that when I started looking at the process of application, I first thought that it was very complex. Then, I sat on it and tried to read and understand the instructions in Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website, in no time, I found my self-completing our family’s application. Why am I telling this? Because I want to let you know that if you follow the instructions in the application guide, you should be able to fill out the forms and submit them on your own. All the forms and the information that you need to apply for a visa is found in the CIC’s website for free.
However, if you or any member of your family have a complicated situation, then, you might benefit form using a paid immigration representative. But you should not believe that an immigration representative could improve your chances of getting your application approved or that processing of your application will be faster than the usual. If you are eligible to apply, then you are eligible and if you are not eligible, then, you are not. An immigration consultant or a lawyer cannot change this.
On the other hand, getting immigration representative will not always mean that you have to pay someone to do it for you. There are other individuals who can still act for you in the same way as a paid representative. This could be one of your family members or a friend of yours.
If you decide to get a representative, here a few tips that you may want to consider:
- No representative has special access to CIC’s programs and services. No one can guarantee you that you will be granted a visa.
- If you hire a paid representative, they must be “authorized”. An “authorized” representative maybe a lawyer who is a member in good standing of a Canadian provincial or territorial law society; a notary who is a member in good standing of the Chamber des notaires du Québec; or an immigration consultant who is a member in good standing of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council.
- Be careful of anything that sounds too good to be true.
- If you’re hiring a paid representative, get a written contract and read it carefully before you sign it. Ensure that the contract indicates all the services the representative will give you and clearly states the fee.
- Do not sign blank application forms or documents that you can’t read or understand.
- Ensure that you have copies of any documents that your representative makes for you.
- Whether you have a paid or unpaid representative, you must provide your representative’s name and contact information in your application form.
- Do not believe your representative when he tells you that you have to pay extra or higher processing fees for whatever reasons he gives you. Processing fees are the same at all Canadian visa offices around the world and these fees are in Canadian dollars.
- Do not follow your representative’s advise if he tells you to provide false or misleading information in your application. It is against the law to give false or misleading information to CIC you may not be allowed to enter Canada or you could be deported from Canada after you arrive for doing such.
- You can change your representative at any time. You can deal directly with the visa office or immigration office in Canada. To change your representative, you should inform CIC by sending in an updated IMM 5476 Form.
Deciding whether to get someone who will represent you or not will still be your choice, but, you must ensure that if you get a representative, you need to give written consent to CIC before they can share any of your personal information with your immigration consultant/lawyer, or other representative, regardless if they are paid or unpaid representative. To give your consent to your representative, you must complete and sign Use of a Representative (IMM 5476) form.
Learn About Using a Representative. Retrieved June 10, 2015.
Use an Authorized Representative. Retrieved June 10, 2015.
Choose a Representative. Retrieved June 10, 2015.