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In January 2020, Ashton College is hosting its first immigration pro-bono clinic to provide consultations to the general public who are seeking advice regarding their immigration applications. This is an excellent opportunity for anybody who has questions about their specific situations to utilize the expertise of Ashton College immigration professionals free of charge. We decided to speak with Shawn Bowden, the instructor of the Immigration Consultant Diploma Program, to learn more about the upcoming pro-bono clinic.
What is the primary goal of the pro-bono clinic?
The main goal of this clinic is to provide free initial consultation services to the public. It is focused on those who have questions regarding their own situations or their relatives and loved ones who may be thinking of coming to Canada or are already here. The service is free, so there are no barriers due to financial reasons. This is a key feature of the clinic. The upcoming clinic will take place on January 25, and in the future, we plan to organize them every quarter of 2020.
Why do you want to volunteer at the clinic?
I decided to volunteer at the clinic because I have a passion for this industry and very much like to give back to the community. I am sure it will help my students to practice their knowledge and skills and apply them in real-life situations. The public will have an opportunity to receive advice from the professionally-trained consultants and save their time and money from trying to navigate the immigration systems themselves. I believe it’s a perfect way for all the involved to grow their knowledge and experience in the Immigration field.
What is your background/experience in the immigration field? Why do you like doing it?
I have been a licensed immigration consultant for more than a decade now. It is a very rewarding career to help people make their dreams of moving to a new country come true. Along with doing immigration work, I teach part of the Immigration Consultant Diploma Program at Ashton College and mentor past students whenever possible. I consider this clinic a great practicum work opportunity for our students and alumni and encourage them to participate.
What will be happening during the clinic?
The students and alumni of Ashton College will be answering questions and providing immigration advice to the general public. The consultations will be given one-on-one on a first-come-first-serve basis. No appointments are necessary. I will be supervising the consultations and support my students to make sure the information they provide is accurate and substantial for the clients.
Who can benefit from this clinic? Who would you like to invite?
Practically anyone can benefit from the clinic. Regardless of whether you have general questions or specific enquiries about your situation, it is a great way to get a better understanding of the challenges you’re facing, possible consequences, and feasible solutions. All within one location that is very easy to access with public transportation as well.
I usually try and get the message out to an extensive group of friends, coworkers, other consultants, and of course, my students who will help at the event. We need to keep in mind that it is not only those people who we tell can benefit from the clinic, but also people they know who might benefit from attending the event. I’d appreciate it if anybody who learns about the clinic helps to spread the word out in their community so that it reaches anybody who needs help.
What are the advantages of the clinic to the public?
The immigration process is complex, and professional consultants, working in this field, spend a lot of time studying various procedures and regulations that affect candidates’ applications. No surprise, it can be overwhelming for people to navigate through all the immigration requirements. As a result, they might have a lot of questions about the documents they need to provide, the tests they should take, the forms that are required to be filled out and many others.
At Ashton College, we have a lot of resources that we want to become available to the public. We have experts, time to spend and an excellent location of Vancouver downtown campus to meet at. This is our way of connecting with the local community of current or prospective immigrants and to help them as much as we can.
Immigration Pro-Bono Clinic will take place on January 25, 2020
Location: Ashton College (#300- 1190 Melville Street, Vancouver, BC V6E 3W1)
Time: 9.00 am – 1.00 pm
Registration is not required