Can New Software Simplify the Immigration Application Process?

Immigration to Canada can be quite a complex process: you need to meet the requirements, fill in all the necessary forms, collect (and translate, if needed) the documents and wait for the application to be approved.

It is no wonder that people began to question if there is a way to simplify the application process and make it easier for the candidate. The question is, will the technological advancements work to our advantage?

The Problem

There are currently several key aspects in the immigration application process that can make it difficult for some candidates:

  • It is a lengthy process. Filling out the forms and collecting the documents not only takes time and patience, but also requires persistence and attention to detail.
  • People struggle with the forms. Sometimes, the questions in the forms and the language used may not be clear to the applicants. Candidates are also required to enter the same information into the forms several times, which can increase the likelihood of a typo or a mistake.
  • It is difficult to apply on your own. In many cases, it is easier and more beneficial for the candidate to hire an immigration consultant or an immigration lawyer to ensure that the application is filled out correctly. Furthermore, apart from the application forms, there are various other documents that are also very language-specific, and the candidates may not be aware of all the requirements.

Ensuring that the application is filled out correctly takes a lot of time and energy, and can be frustrating for people without a background in immigration or law.

Potential Solutions?

Taking advantage of technological developments and widespread use of the internet, a few start-up enthusiasts have developed an online program that would help candidates with their immigration application forms. Called FastGate, the software was designed as a platform to simplify (and speed up) the immigration process by allowing candidates to enter their information into the form once, and then to be able to print all the necessary CIC forms for the immigration application.

The goal of the platform is to help candidates avoid mistakes when they are filling in multiple immigration forms, since those mistakes can be extremely costly, sometimes resulting in the rejection of the application due to misrepresentation.

Presently, FastGate project is still in development. There is only one application available on the website – the adult citizenship application, which is currently being updated. The effectiveness of the application and its use still remain to be seen. The owners, a law student named Myles Kaufman and a developer named Cody Wong, are hoping to work with CIC directly to allow direct input from FastGate to CIC; however, CIC officials are not ready to comment on the likeliness of this collaboration.

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Benefits and Drawbacks

On the one hand, creating a helpful software program seems like a good idea because:

  • it has the potential to minimize the mistakes made during the application,
  • it can speed up the application process, and
  • it ensures that all the information can be easily accessed and edited.

On the other hand, there are a lot of questions that need to be addressed when creating an online platform for immigration:

  • Professionalism: It is critical to ensure that the developers of the tools for immigration know what they are doing. They should have a sufficient knowledge of both Canadian immigration law and immigration application process. The question arises whether the app developers have, or should have, ICCRC certification to ensure the effectiveness of the online tool for immigration.
  • Liability: Any mistakes or glitches in the software can be quite costly for the applicants. Furthermore, there is the issue of ensuring privacy of the information entered. It is still unclear whether the online platform and its owners will be taking responsibility for those mistakes.
  • Functionality: There have been success cases with the app before its updates; but its functionality still remains to be seen.
  • Updates: Since the application is currently not collaborating directly with the CIC website, it has to be continuously monitored for the changes that happen in the immigration process (which is what is currently happening with FastGate). It can be an uncomfortable process that requires the applicants to wait, and also creates the potential of submitting older version of the form.

It is possible that, if CIC chooses to collaborate on the project, the online software platform will prove to be a good tool that could be used by applicants – and potentially by immigration consultants themselves. However, currently it may be safer and more efficient to consult a professional for immigration advice and assistance. Here at Ashton, we will continue to keep a close eye on the tools that could help with immigration application process.

Sources

A Faster Gateway to Canadian Immigration – Torontoist

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