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Keshav Sharma is one of Ashton College’s success stories from the Immigration Consultant Program as he helps others fulfill their dreams of coming to Canada.
Having emigrated from India in 2010, Keshav Sharma knows the challenges faced by those who want to make Canada their home from personal experience. He continued to work in senior management roles in the media industry when he came to Canada (as he had done in India), but the desire to help others with their immigration journey pulled at him. So, while he worked in his current field, he also explored the opportunity of establishing an immigration consulting firm to guide others on their own path through the process.
He found Ashton College and the Immigration Consultant Diploma Program.
1. Why did you choose Ashton College? What were the factors that determined your decision?
“Once I decided to become a regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant, there were two choices for me to consider in terms of schools. UBC or Ashton,” he says. “While UBC has a big name and a great reputation, Ashton brought something else to the table – flexibility.”
Taking the program while working his job was important to Keshav and he found there were numerous options: in-class and online delivery methods within full-time and part-time programs. The flexible choices were the ideal fit, but he soon found more to appreciate about Ashton.
3. Please tell us about the program you studied. What did you like most of all? What was the most challenging?
“After joining the Immigration consultant diploma program, I realized that Ashton is actually a leader in immigration education because of the faculty who not only have years of teaching experience but also vast practical experience working in the industry,” he says. “The learning from Ashton was not based solely on acts and regulations in the books, but included an understanding, assessment and evaluation of real immigration case studies with a wide range of considerations. The instructors really know what they are teaching.”
An immigration program has the ability to shape the future lives of thousands of individuals and Keshav saw how Ashton College took that responsibility seriously.
In addition to a more practical education, Keshav also gained benefits from forming a trusted network of other leading immigration consultants he met during the program and has stayed in touch with. He was able to found Elaar Immigration – a full-service Canadian immigration consultancy in Surrey, BC – and uses that experience to share information, experiences and generally support others in the industry.
4. What is your overall impression of studying at Ashton?
“The robust knowledge of the industry I gained at Ashton gave me the ability to make a positive contribution to the lives of those who aspire to study, work or settle permanently in Canada in search of a better life,” he says. “The Ashton program highlights the importance of honesty and ethics. I really appreciated the emphasis on that aspect because it aligns so strongly with my own philosophies. Honesty and ethical behaviour is important in any profession, but it’s absolutely crucial in immigration.”
While going through his own immigration journey, Keshav came to appreciate the numerous paths that a person can chose to come to Canada. He’d also seen and heard about how some individuals wanting to immigrate to Canada had been taken advantage of by unscrupulous people who positioned themselves as immigration experts. He wanted to ensure potential immigrants had a reliable partner they could count on and work with as they pursued their immigration journey to Canada.
5. What is your current position/occupation? Tell us a bit more about what you do.
“At Elaar Immigration, we are able to help with a wide range of programs. It’s my job to know exactly what stream is best for an individual, so I constantly stay abreast of the changes in the industry,” he says. “Even the most educated individual will come to steps in the process where they need professional help. This isn’t about intelligence, it’s about experience and knowledge of the law, rules and regulations around immigration. I bring that to the table.”
Through his education at Ashton College and ongoing training in the ever-changing immigration field, Keshav learned the unique details that make one immigration stream better for a person than another. With this expertise, Elaar Immigration is truly a full-service immigration consulting firm.
6. What are the essential skills and knowledge you should possess to become an Immigration Consultant?
“The core element, in being an immigration consultant, is listening very carefully to what is important to people,” he says. “I need to fully understand what their goals are in coming to Canada so that I can help them complete their application for the program that is the best fit for their needs.”
Focusing on these needs ensures that people are more likely to be successful in their application and that brings an immense sense of satisfaction to Keshav. It also comes with a huge amount of responsibility and accountability as well.
7. What is the best part of your job? What are you most passionate about?
“The best part of my job is that it gives me the potential to make a difference to someone’s life by helping them in achieving their biggest dream,” he says. “They most often feel as though this wouldn’t have happened without our help. That’s an incredible feeling for me and the others at Elaar Immigration.”
He knows that being a leading immigration consultant and running a successful immigration firm are two different things. He stresses this to newcomers to the field as well as those striking out to establish their own firm. He believes that ongoing education in all aspects of the business is essential to creating success for both the consultant and the client. There are a wide range of skills that will lead to these positive outcomes.
8. What are some of your future goals and aspirations?/ Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?
“Keeping on top of everything that is happening in the immigration world allows us to provide the best solution to our clients,” he explains. “In my view, an approach of people first with the highest level of integrity is the essential key to doing well and being respected in this industry.”
Elaar Immigration provides strategic advice and representation on all Canadian immigration matters including, but limited to: Express Entry, Provincial Nominee Programs, family sponsorships, study visas and work visas. Keshav has explored a number of complex cases and gained the expertise required to assemble successful applications. Elaar Immigration is also highly capable in exploring a range of Canadian business visa opportunities due to his background including experience in marketing, strategy, business consulting and managing complex business solutions.
Ashton College is currently offering an Immigration Consultant course online. Apply Now.