If you're from another country and hoping to live or work in Canada, we could not be more excited for you! We know you're about to be up against some red tape and administrative headaches regarding the immigration process itself. There's a lot to think about, from visas and visa extensions to permanent residency and citizenship. It can be daunting, and there's a whole lot of room for error. Lucky for you, there are immigration experts that specialize in helping you through the process and supporting you throughout your unique journey. We spoke to one of those experts, Leann, Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant at Foothills Immigration, to help us give you a peek into the many benefits of partnering with an immigration professional.
First and foremost, you don't have to use expert support. "It's about weighing your options," said Leann. If you have the benefit of time on your side or don't feel that it's the end of the world if your application gets rejected, you may not need to worry about hiring a professional. But, on the other side of the token, if you're in a pinch time-wise, you have a ton of uncertainty, and it's make or break that you get approved. You will want to leverage all the help you can get.
Knowing Your Options
"The government changes policies constantly," Leann told us. "Something that wasn't available six months ago, or even a week ago, could be available now. It's really helpful to work with a professional who keeps up with the fast-paced industry." She explained that immigration professionals keep their fingers on the pulse of the industry for a living, so they don't need to go searching for these updates. They're typically readily aware of them. They can help you understand your current situation, ask the right questions about you and your goals, and help you identify your options.
There are many different paths to permanent residency in Canada, and you may be eligible for several. So, people like Leann can help determine the best option for you to pursue in keeping with your professional and personal goals and your current status–If your visa is about to expire, for example.
Nailing Down Your Timeline
When it comes to immigration, timing is everything. There are multiple timelines and deadlines that will likely come into play throughout your application process, and it's essential to keep track of the many moving parts. Or, rather than leaving room for error, you can trust an immigration professional to keep track of those timelines for you.
Not only are they aware of deadlines and able to keep track of your personal deadlines (expiry dates or due dates for your selective applications, for example), but they are also familiar with things like processing times, so they can give you an idea of how long things may take and what to be aware of when it comes to the calendar. If you have the peace of mind that someone is aware of your due dates and deadlines, you can ensure you're efficiently prioritizing everything and getting everything done without worrying about it outside those dates. If your application process or immigration, in general, is a stressor that weighs heavily on you, it's likely because you're not super clear on what you're up against or certain that you've got the right approach. Experts can change that.
Using the Right Application
"Another key thing we do is ensure that what you're submitting is actually correct," said Leann. "Applications get changed constantly, they get updated, and there is little forgiveness from the processing office if you use a wrong form," she continued. There are tons of application forms floating around online, and it's possible that you might stumble upon one that isn't for the right program or one that is outdated. If you're waiting to hear back about your application status, but you haven't submitted the correct one in the first place, this is a hugely damaging and completely avoidable mistake.
Not only can immigration professionals ensure that you're submitting the correct application, but they can also ensure that you've filled it out correctly. "We constantly see folks make small mistakes on their self-submitting application that completely derailed the entire process for them, mistakes that could have absolutely been avoided," Leann reflected. Working with an immigration professional is all about limiting your risk for mistakes and ensuring you've got everything you need to set yourself up for success.
Leann explained that a big piece of her job is helping her clients ensure they have everything they need and nothing that they don't when it comes to their applications and their supporting documents. As you can imagine, there are a lot of documents involved in the process of immigration. "That's really a big thing that can save you a lot of stress because a lot of people spend a lot of time stressing about and looking for documents they don't actually need for their specific application. While there is a checklist online, it doesn't pertain to every application and can be extremely confusing. We give you an exact checklist according to what you're doing, and that's all you need to get us," explained Leann. In this way, you don't waste time sourcing things you don't need, and you don't miss anything that is essential to your application. When you put together an application and a bunch of documents and hit "submit," it can be really stressful because there's no obvious way to tell that you've done everything right and supplied everything you are required to. The peace of mind that you've done everything you need to do is a huge benefit to working with an immigration professional.
Your Personal Advocate
"The main thing that we do, the best way to sum it up, is that we control all the variables," said Leann. From a professional standpoint, this is not my first rodeo. This is not even my 1000th rodeo. We're really confident in what we know, and that helps you gain the confidence that you've done everything you can and done everything correctly to give you the best possible chance for a successful application." She explained that the risk of making one little mistake is so high-risk because the impact could be profound.
"We often hear about people asking their friends or peers about the application process or lean on folks who aren't experts for guidance. The thing is, you can't assume someone is in the same situation as you," Leann explained. "Every situation is extremely different, and you need to gain clarity on what you're up against and what you need to do in your unique situation."
Leann shared a key tip when it comes to looking for an immigration expert to partner with, and that is "shop around." She said to "make sure you use somebody who's been doing this for a long time and who has a good reputation, good reviews, and a track record of good results." She said to ask around in terms of pricing, ask for references, and just be sure that the person you're considering working with understands the situation you're in. This is a big deal, it's your future, and it's putting your future in someone else's hands. Take your time to find the right fit.