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The choice to make Canada your new home is a massive one, one that requires a lot of thought and consideration. But perhaps the most critical decision is which immigration consultant you choose to work with to help put your application together. While there are many options available, you’ll want a knowledgeable, experienced professional by your side. They will know the ins and outs of the industry and can help advise you as to which of the many immigration programs is the right one for you.
The best way to do this is by asking others who they used as an immigration consultant and learning more about this individual from them. With that information, select your top two or three consultants and go from there.
If a consultant charges you for an initial meeting, that may be a red flag. Else, if they pressure you to formalize working together in the initial meeting itself, they may not be a good fit either. You will be sharing intimate details about your life with this person regarding your occupation, your wealth, your family and other factors. Therefore, you must feel comfortable working with them and the members of their team.
The process of immigration could be complicated and confusing. Thus, it is advisable to always work with a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) who has completed an immigration consultant diploma program and is a member of good standing with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC).
You can determine if someone has completed the educational requirements and is a regulated immigration consultant by looking them up on the ICCRC website. If you’re approaching a lawyer, you can contact the provincial, territorial or federal bar association to find out more about them.
Sometimes when your initial meeting or phone call goes well, you may feel it is OK to skip references. But it’s important that you don’t. Ask the immigration consultant you are interested in working with for two or three references. Talking to past or current clients will throw some more light on how the professional is to work with. You may also be able to find out any problems or issues they faced with the consultant in question and weave a pattern, if any, to help you decide.
Treat any interaction with the immigration consultant as an interview – because it is. This is a matter that concerns your future. A rejected immigration application will cost you not only money but also time and heartache. Someone who has completed a certified immigration consultant course has merely proven their capability in the field. There are other important skills to look for, as well.
Consider the factors that are most important to you and devise questions that will help you see if the person you are considering working with has those skills or qualities.
To gauge professionalism, ask questions like: “How quickly do you respond to emails or calls from your clients?” or “What do you do if a person I’ve been working with leaves your team?”
For understanding their attention to details, perhaps consider questions like: “What are the steps you take to figure out which immigration program or stream is right for me?” “How do you ensure all the information I fill on the forms is accurate?” or “Do you have a checklist or tool you use to make sure all the requirements are met for my application?”
To learn more about them as an individual, ask things like: “Can you tell me about a case you worked on that was particularly challenging and how you handled it?” “Do you keep in touch with any of your former clients?” or “Why do you like being an immigration consultant?”
There are many other questions you may ask before choosing your immigration consultant to learn about their skills, capabilities, interests and approach. Only by doing some homework about your immigration consultant will you gain a better understanding of whether they are the right fit for you or not.
Picking the right consultant is the most crucial step in the entire immigration process, one that has the potential to alter your future. So, take your time before making a decision. As a ground rule, only work with regulated immigration consultants. Good luck.