The Canadian government does not require you to hire the services of an immigration lawyer when immigrating to Canada or handling other immigration matters. You can still submit the papers and follow the steps necessary for your individual case, and you won’t be treated any differently.
However, the value of using an effective Canadian immigration lawyer can’t be overstated. With a lawyer in your corner, you essentially have an immigration expert who knows how the system works and is helping you every step of the way. The choice is yours, but if you do choose to find an immigration lawyer to represent you, look for these essential qualities:
Having the proper professional credentials doesn’t mean an immigration lawyer is good, but you shouldn’t hire one that doesn’t. It’s not outside the realm of possibility for so-called immigration lawyers to take advantage of unsuspecting immigrants. Take the time to ensure they are members in good standing of the provincial licensing body such as the Law Society of Upper Canada in Ontario, and are authorized to represent you by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Strong References and Testimonials
It stands to reason that a good Canadian immigration lawyer will have a trail of satisfied clients out there for you to speak to or read about. Client testimonials and positive references are strong indicators that the lawyer is a good candidate. In most cases, people have no issues sharing negative opinions of lawyers and other professionals, so if you’re hearing positive feedback, you’re on the right track.
Proven Track Record
Along with positive opinions and experiences, positive results are also important. If the immigration lawyer you are researching has a proven track record of favourable outcomes and decisions for his clients, chances are he or she knows what he or she is doing. These lawyers usually specialize in immigration matters and have experience with the specific aspects of immigration you need help with.
Feedback and results are of critical importance, but you also want the immigration lawyers you choose to act professionally at all times. This means not being pushy or overly aggressive when trying to get you to sign, being open about the fee schedule and offering a straightforward contract that both of you sign.
In today’s marketplace, a professional-looking website where you can access information about all parts of the immigration process is also important. Look for clear, concise information that is easy to find, including the office address and all of the necessary telephone numbers.
Sometimes, an immigration lawyer seems to have all the pieces of the puzzle, but he or she just doesn’t seem approachable. Maybe they are dismissive or evasive, maybe they don’t seem interested in accommodating your language issues or maybe you just don’t feel comfortable when you visit the office.
A good immigration lawyer isn’t paid for his social skills, but at such an important time in your life, you deserve to feel comfortable and welcome.