Immigration lawyer

What Is the Difference Between an Immigration Lawyer and an Immigration Consultant?

Calgary’s Phoenix Legal has been providing high quality, professional immigration services for nearly 30 years. People who are looking to immigrate to Canada often hire a professional to help simplify the immigration process. Many people have heard the terms “immigration lawyer” and “immigration consultant” but do not realize that these are different types of professionals with different levels of education, accountability, and experience. When looking to immigrate to Canada, should you choose an immigration lawyer or an immigration consultant? To get the most benefit, you must choose the right professional to represent your immigration case such as a family sponsorship program application, an application for permanent residency, or a citizenship application).

Calgary immigration lawyer Abdul Souraya is of the opinion that it is important to work with someone you trust and who has the requisite knowledge, experience and training to both interpret the legislation, the case law and advocate on your behalf. 

Here are some the differences between an immigration lawyer and an immigration consultant to help you make the best choice for your immigration matter. 

Immigration Lawyers vs. Immigration Consultants

Calgary-based Phoenix Legal provides customized legal services, including assisting clients with applications for temporary and permanent residence and advocating for clients at immigration hearings and appeals. That raises the first key difference between an immigration lawyer and an immigration consultant; only an immigration lawyer can represent a client in a judicial review application before the Federal Court to challenge a visitor visa, study or work permit refusal by a visa officer.
If there is an issue with your application, an immigration consultant is restricted in their ability to advocate on your behalf. If you think your immigration matter may be complex or less than straightforward, you should consider going with an immigration lawyer from the outset of the process to ensure proper representation. 

Further Differences Between an Immigration Lawyer and an Immigration Consultant

Both lawyers and consultants can help clients with immigration matters, but there are some significant differences to be aware of in addition to the one discussed above (i.e. that only lawyers are authorized to represent clients at federal court):
• Education. The ability to interpret and apply immigration laws is extremely important. Lawyers are required to complete an undergraduate degree, followed by three years of law school, plus articling with a firm and passing the bar exam. Immigration consultants do not have the same level of education or as robust training, as they are only required to do a 6- or 12-month course before writing an exam.
• Regulation. Immigration lawyers in Canada are governed and regulated by the Law Society in each province or territory. Lawyers are required to follow strict rules of professional conduct and meet high ethical standards when serving clients. Canadian immigration consultants are not held to the same high standards. They are to be licenced with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC), but the framework to regulate consultants and oversight of their work is much less rigorous.
• Accountability. Unfortunately, there is a high level of fraud when it comes to individuals holding themselves out as “immigration consultants” and it is not uncommon for potential immigrants to Canada to be victims of fraud by unauthorized consultants. There is little recourse for victims of fraudulent immigration consultants and there is no victim compensation fund for fraud or errors made by an immigration consultant.
• Fees. It is often assumed that an immigration lawyer’s fees would be more than an immigration consultant’s fees. However, that is not always the case. Fees will range based on experience and type of service you need. Ask upfront what the expected fees will be so that you can make a decision about where to get the best value for your money. But keep in mind: you get what you pay for, so a “bargain” rate may end up costing you time and more money in the long run if mistakes are made in your application.

The bottom line in all cases is that you should choose a professional with experience handling cases like yours, who you trust to provide you with accurate information, and who you can count on to simplify the process and assist you in the legal process of immigrating to Canada and is ready to challenge a negative decision through all legal avenues available.

Get Advice From a Trusted Calgary Immigration Lawyer

If you are looking for a candid and thorough assessment of your prospects of immigration to Canada through family sponsorship, Express Entry, provincial nomination, or if you wish to study, work or visit Canada, Phoenix Legal is ready to help guide you through the immigration process. With over 29 years of legal experience, Abdul Souraya is an immigration lawyer in Calgary who can provide you with top-shelf strategic legal advice as it relates to your immigration matter . Our immigration law firm in Calgary can assist you with applications for permanent residence, temporary residence, citizenship applications, immigration appeals, federal court judicial review, staying of removal, and business immigration pathways to permanent residence.
To speak with a Calgary immigration lawyer at Phoenix Legal, please call our office today at 403-568-3000, or complete our online form.
We offer services in English, French and Arabic, with virtual service available around the world.

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