With a strong focus on educating tomorrow’s immigration experts, Ashton College has established a pro-bono clinic to bring advice to potential immigrants as its way of giving back to the community. They can now have their immigration questions and concerns addressed at these quarterly free clinics.
The immigration process is a complex one, and while Canada is welcoming near-record numbers of immigrants to the country, navigating the process isn’t easy. There are numerous immigration streams one can apply through and there’s also the requirement differences between national and provincial or territorial programs. A potential immigrant is likely to feel overwhelmed facing these challenges without expert help. Fortunately, the majority of immigration practitioners want to help others be successful in coming to Canada and care about the best opportunities for the individuals involved.
That’s why pro-bono clinics are such an ideal opportunity. They bring together those who need help with those who want to provide support.
Everyone who volunteers at the pro-bono immigration clinic is a student or alumnus of the immigration consultant diploma program under the guidance of a regulated immigration practitioner or a lawyer. These are the volunteers who will provide one-on-one advice to those who can’t otherwise afford it. These clinics enable potential immigrants (as well as family and friends who may be potential immigrants) to ask specific questions and get advice on individual immigration cases.
Some of those questions may include topics like: what programs do I qualify for? Are my CRS scores high enough for Express Entry? Should I look to a provincial or territorial program instead of a federal program? How do I understand what to include with my application? And many others. Our pro-bono clinics are a win-win arrangement where individuals who wouldn’t usually be able to access immigration expertise can find answers and advice while those who volunteer can gain valuable experience by looking into specific cases.
While the volunteers can answer questions and provide advice, they cannot complete an immigration application at the pro-bono clinics. Applications are a complex process and require a large amount of information. In a setting where a potential immigrant, their friend or family member hires an immigration practitioner, the process will take several days or weeks to complete due to the back and forth nature of information gathering. Therefore, those attending the pro-bono clinics should come prepared with specific questions about an application or the immigration process rather than a general need for someone to complete the application.
The pro-bono immigration clinics are important to Ashton College because the immigration community is a supporter and contributor of Ashton College’s success. The pro-bono clinics allow volunteers to add to their immigration skills through practice on specific cases. By supporting the dreams of individuals who want to become new Canadians and those who want to help them, we at Ashton are able to see both sides of the story, which we believe is the greatest benefit of all.